Monday, 14 July 2014

Gaming Update - WarThunder, World of Tanks, CivV and MechWarrior

I slept like a log last night, I think finally having picked to support a Team in Germany and their winning a match satisfied me... I did actually shout out when they scored... Though I didn't like the propensity of the commentators on both BBC and ITV to support Argentina because they apparently like Messi... But, each to their own I suppose, I don't think he was worthy of "player of the tournament", I actually think his performance looked somewhat lacklustre over all.  I don't doubt there were bursts of brilliance, but the radiant glow out of his backside didn't shine so bright as to eclipse others.

Anyway, football aside, I played games... I played World of Tanks, I played WarThunder, I played Civilization V and I played MechWarriorOnline...

I spent the most of my time in WarThunder, initially I got my Track IR4 and my Seitek X45 out and set about setting up the simulator standard controls.  I've got to be honest, I still find setting up the controls in WarThunder to feel very soppy, its not a clean interface... There are ways to slide and slip "yes" to "no", but to my eye the indicators point backwards, and the axis auto-detect was okay, but I kept second guessing what I was doing... "Put your axis...bla"... And you're looking and wondering is that "bla" or "bla"... but Bla was BLA!... Just doesn't sit right, I'd have to say perhaps a native English speaker should have a trawl through the process there and give Gaijin a flow chart to improve it for English speakers... As I have spoken to a native Russian speaker and they informed me that it made perfect sense to them... One can only say it's a culture thing perhaps?

One thing I am certain of however, and its something SideStrafe mentioned in his latest Strafing Run that Gaijin don't like to be told there are problems with their product... I'd love to know what SideStrafe found issue with and reported to them, but I have a fair few items sent their way - both privately and openly on the moderated bug forums - and the more I see such issues, and the more evidence of them I seem to have sent, the less feedback I get.

It is rather strange to have a group so eager to talk to you, but the moment you find fault they sent you into Coventry.  I'd call it rude, but then I'm English and what we consider rude seems to engulf half of modern day fashion & life styles.  But having spoken to a few peeps it seems to perhaps be an Eastern European thing... Folks working on the Witcher didn't like criticism... WarGaming don't like it... and it seems Gaijin don't either.

So, what of the games I've played, well first of all, the latest patch to WarThunder, allowing queuing on specific servers has cured one problem.  I used to play the game set to "Any Available" server, now I can set it to use five different servers and I'm getting a whole lot more games a whole lot faster.

For a long time queues in the client looked like this:

As you can see the American bent on the nations being queues was obvious.  Now however numbers are much higher in all tiers and nations, and one can pick and choose to play however one wants, which is very much a welcome sight.

I've also spent a lot of time playing Arcade Ground Forces, to unlock and skill up my Russians.  I've pushed right up the T34 line and really enjoyed playing!

I have to say there's a huge difference in the fire power of Russian to German Tanks, the Russians are much more fun to play in the low tiers, and it was not until I got hold of the 50mm L11 gun on the Panzer III did I have as much fun with the Germans.  Though I do love to jump out in a Panzer II with its 20mm and kill Stugs which other players are battering over and over to no avail... Just shoot the optics folks!

Another issue has been the number of players who are just seemingly inert to the positions around them, above you see me in one of my T34's taking the conquest point... We actually won this game... because I stopped and took the point and then held it... The chap there in the other T34, he had been sat by the side of the cap - even with enemy tanks in the cap circle - and was just sniping over at any enemy approaching... GET IN THE CAP CIRCLE PEOPLE!

Another activity I partook of was in test flight mode, trying to land various aircraft on carriers:

Like a Spitfire IX... bring them in low and slow, almost at the stall, and then drop them onto the deck, it worked most of the time, and proves you could reload some of the most unexpected aircraft on a carrier (at least in realistic mode, I doubt its possible in Simulator)...

Sometimes it went a bit wrong, but a repair is a repair, and off you go again... (Note: You don't have to take off from the deck, it puts you about 5km behind the ship going at full speed around 1000ft).

Another WarThunder item was the magic bullet, yet there's more ricochets sometimes than in an episode of the A-Team, here we see my T70... The indicator says I'm getting shot from my right... I'm already burning... So why am I not looking right?...

Well, firstly, I find the feedback system for tank damage in WarThunder to be wholly inadequate, it gives too little feel for where the damage it coming from, and though the sound effects are good they're not very directional - I've sat in a tank being hit with a 12lb lump hammer - you can tell which direction the hammer blows are coming from, it is not; as modelled in the game; like being in a bell chamber with reverberation all around.

But, here the red indicator is enough I know where the enemy is, so why is my camera looking the other way?...

Well, first of all, I was trying to see HOW the guy to my right was shooting me... well he was shooting me through a rock and a piece of ground... But worse still the animation for the shot was not coming from the right of my tank, it was coming out of that black pock marked rock to my left!...

I checked my replay, and it did not show this, it must have been a quirk at the time of playing in the actual engine... But it damned annoyed me.

World Of Tanks
Enough of WarThunder, I also played some World Of Tanks... I played two games... You know what, I don't think I'm going to play that game much more... Compared to ground forces its not very good, there's too elitist an undertow, you have to know the maps, you have to grind like crazy... and it doesn't leverage the full power of my machine to play, plus to have any hope of getting along decently you have to have memorised maps of the terrain in your minds eye, and a bunch of mods added which should be there by default... All in All, I think WarGaming need to improve dramatically as I'm swinging wildly towards playing WarThunder almost exclusively for my Air and Ground battles...

Civilization V
When I bought Civ5 (digitial pre-release) I was so excited, but I didn't get along with it... I think Civ2 remains the best in the series... and I liked Civ3 a lot too... But Civ5, I simply do not like, the hex's are okay I lived with that... The graphics are good, but the whole experience seems .. I dunno... Spongy to me... Don't like it, and I think the controls are a step too far away from the older series - I know a lot of them are common - but city controls are different.

However, I came back to play again try the game on maximum graphics settings and DirectX11 mode on my new Graphics card... Meah, still not impressed... So parked that one.

MechWarrior Online
The next title I dropped my eyes across, and which I've left installed, is MechWarrior Online. 

I came across this game from SideStrafe's coverage on YouTube, and I was always a big fan of MWO - played them years ago on my 486!  But this update was online, multiplayer and free to play!

I signed up and soon found myself in battle - more about that later.

My initial impressions are promising, I like the game, I like the look... And the battles are fairly easy to get into...I have a bone to pick with the interface again, in the hangar it is really complex, I've yet to find out how to customise a mech, and the myriad (literally hundreds) of mechs listed I'm not entirely sure what's going on.

I've roughly figured how to pick a mech and get playing, but I've no idea really what's going on... I need to investigate further.

My other problem with the game is that someone else has the name "Xelous"... I am Xelous, who the hell are they?!?!?!?!?!  So I had to sign up as "LordXelous" in that game.  I hate when my username is taken like that.

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