Archive

Monthly Archives: July 2012

It has been announced that the 7.5 update will go live on the EU server tomorrow, 1st August. We also have the finalised 7.5 patch notes.

Most interestingly for me is the precise detail of the rebalancing of the Tier II and III Tank Destroyers, in particular my wonderful Marder II. The biggest nerf is undoubtedly the reduction in View range by 40m. The reloading time of the gun is also going up, and so is the aim time. On the plus side there is a very modest increase to hit points and speed. However, the damage and penetration of the gun appears to be unaffected.

For me this means the Marder II will be slightly less effective in terms of raw damage output (it will fire slower, and need more time to aim after ceasing movement), but equally should have more weak targets due to the matchmaking changes, and its ability to hurt Tier V vehicles remains intact.

The KV-3 is also getting a hp buff; as is the KV-5, which is also getting a small aiming buff. The M3 Lee is getting a modest buff to view range. None of the tanks I regularly play – except for the Marder II, is getting a change other than to the matchmaking.

I have to say overall I am looking forward to the patch. The new three maps will be interesting to play and new maps are one way of helping to keep the game feel fresh. I am going to have to relearn the Marder II a little, and I am relishing the challenge.

This is just a quick post, referring to something I said in a previous post about the EVE Alliance Tournament. Jester has, now the tournament is over, has written a number of posts about the Tournament. In particular I found this post about the training for the tournament really interesting.

Reading through the post, this is a small list of some of the things I drew out from it.

1) Working on the theory of the competition

2) Logistical preparation for training facilities and the like

3) Studying tape of opponent’s past performances

4) Studying tape of his own team’s past performances

5) Working out team-strategies

6) Practising, for hours and hours

7) Trying to gain information in game-legal methods about opponents

8) Get frustrated with leaders/team-mates due to long hours of practice

9) Make accommodations with family and close friends about the impact of this “game” on one’s non-game life

Really, how is this any different from what any professional sportsman or woman does?

Today, just after I woke up, for the very first time I played with my daughter. The very, very young do not really play. To be sure, they can react and interact, but it does not have the same quality as play. This morning however I woke up with our daughter in her cot beside our bed. She was awake, and making a few sounds as she does that usually signifies she would like some attention. My wife and I spoke to her as we do, and she smiled at us as she has started to do. Then, quite suddenly, she started to kick the wooden bars at the end of her cot. Very soon she was kicking them quite vigorously and smiling, even laughing as she did so.

Inspired, I started to run my fingers along the bars to the side of her cot, making sounds as they hit or scraped the bars. Melian looked at me, smiled, and kicked her legs some more. We made a game of it. It was wonderful. We both laughed and chuckled and smiled.

For the first time, Melian played. An impromptu game, the entire point of which was to have fun.

A very good start to a day.

One of the great things about the Olympics is the sheer variety of different sports on offer, virtually every sort of sport to whet the competitive appetite of any palette. One of the great annoyances of the Olympics are all these great sports being shown at the same time. Not that this dilemma is one the organisers can avoid however.

I rather like this panoply of sport set before us, for us to feast upon. To be sure, there will be many who prefer one or two disciplines to the exclusion of others, and that is absolutely fine and well. There is no “correct” way to watch the Olympics after all. For our part though we have so far managed to switch between channels to get a taste of many varieties of spectacle.

In the last two days we have watched a fair amount of archery, swimming, and equestrian (eventing – dressage stage). We have also watched some tennis, and water polo and badminton; a match of handball and table-tennis; a few runs of canoe slalom and a session each of male and female artistic gymnastics (both male and female); even a brief foray into female weightlifting and male judo – oh, and I almost forgot, a couple of matches of fencing – and several races in sailing.

We are, of course, rooting both the British and Danish squads in this household. It provides extra opportunities for interest, along with occasionally some good-natured rivalry.

Oh, I forgot, we’ve seen some rowing too.

Just the sheer scope and variety of the Olympics never ceases to amaze, and I am glad to report we are making the most of the opportunities here.

The new LOTRO Festival, the Farmer’s Faire, launched a couple of days ago, and today I managed to sample it a few of its offerings.

I have one primary consideration when judging a LOTRO festival, and I realised it ultimately after the anniversary contest in 2011 which was a funless affair due to the token grind. Essentially, how easy is it to get the necessary tokens to acquire some of the major goodies, in particular the horses. The second consideration after that is the quality of the mini-games and tasks one ends up doing to get those tokens.

The Farmer’s Faire passes the first test with flying colours. Although the number of tokens to get the various items sounds quite high (the horse costs 120), after just one day of not doing everything I find myself with over sixty of the required tokens.

That being so, how about the tasks to get those tokens? Well, these come in several varieties. Goldenstar over at Casual Stroll to Mordor has produced a pretty good guide.

In Bywater itself there are various tasks about the market. One of these – reprimanding drunk and disorderly hobbits – doesn’t seem to be working particularly well at the moment, probably due to too many people in the area. That is annoying. More positively, there are a number of gathering quests of items around the area, and some of the “lists” one is following are actually quite funny – for the first time anyway. My favourite bit of this area though is the quest involving Mayor Will Whitfoot, where depending on what he says after he has eaten you have to bring him a particular item. Quite fun, involves a bit of thought, and multiple people appear to be able to play it at once.

Just nearby Bywater are a series of fishing tasks, that all appear to be luck based. Fun enough as an excuse for fishing, and even if you fail the fish can be exchanged for more tokens, so hardly wasted time. After that there are two mini-games, one is collecting various eggs at Sanderson’s farm and the other involves eating mushrooms in Farmer Maggot’s field. I have to say, I rather enjoyed the mushrooms more, but in part this is because I cannot help but think of the start of Lord of the Rings when we encounter Farmer Maggot and his dogs. In both it is possible to get tokens even if one does not “win” (I didn’t complete either game successfully). Finally there are the ordinary horse races, which are one of my favourite things about any of the festivals.

So fun enough. However not, I think, as fun as the regular Summer Festival. That Festival stole my heart in my first year with the hobbit food-racers. I hope we will see it yet this year too.

I am watching the Opening Ceremony. I may or may not have more to say on that another time, but just now the athletes are marching out.

They march out, some in their hundreds, others in just a handful. Three or four marched as independents, one of whom hails from this world’s newest country of South Sudan (which is so new it hasn’t organised an Olympic Committee yet). They march out, many different and differing faces, the whole range of humanity. They come from the farthest north, they come from the utter south. They come from the largest and most settled nations on earth, and yet even the smallest and most troubled also send their sons and daughters. The walk and form a human current, a human stream of the great human sea.

It is marvellous to see.

When you watch the nations march, you get a sense of just how large this world is, just how varied our we who inhabit it.

On just about every face there is a wide smile – though some of the flag-bearers appear to be understandably nervous. One can nevertheless feel the joy through a television screen, the energy is infectious.

I started typing this when Portugal entered the area, South Africa just has been announced, and still they come. What a glorious world we live in.

Tomorrow is the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. The first sporting events have actually taken place (football matches). There has been, in the media (and especially I think in the newspapers) a certain amount of grouching about this upcoming extravaganza. I can only think that the chattering classes are trying to do all they can to stop us enjoying this great event, that is unlikely to come again to this country in my lifetime. Fortunately most folks I speak to, be they great sports enthusiasts or not, seem to be wanting to enjoy the next few weeks in various and varying ways. No moaning there!

It is difficult though to think of the Olympics in London without thinking of the events that took place seven years ago. On July 6th it was announced that London had won the right to host the 2012 Olympics. I do not think it is rose-tinted spectacles and errant memory when I say I remember alot of people, inside and outside of London, myself included, found this is a reason to celebrate.

The next day fifty-two innocent people in London lost their lives in four separate explosions, at the hands of four suicide bombers.

The aims of the bombers were not connected with the Olympics, but in my mind ever since the 2012 Olympics have been irrevocably linked to the actions for those four young men on July 7th, 2005.

The Olympic ideal is easy to scoff at. It is easy to say that the Games have fallen prey to geopolitical strife more than once. The events in Munich in 1972 are still an uncomfortable heritage which I do not think the IOC fully realises, for reasons I do not know. Likewise it is easy to find fault with the “business” side of the games, the commercial sponsorships and the like. In the same vein there is the ever-present doubt it today’s champion but turn out to achieved greatness through illegal means.

I actually agree somewhat with each of those concerns, but ultimately, the Olympic ideal remains. It is an ideal, to be aimed for, and like all ideals is not necessarily achievable, humans being what we are. Paraphrasing G K Chesterton, the Olympic has not been achieved and found wanting, it has been found difficult and thus disparaged.

The Olympics are meant to be a time of coming-together. A time to set aside old and current scores. A time to celebrate humanity’s achievements, and to make allowance for our flaws. At times the Olympics has been bedevilled by geopolitics, and yet, I wonder … perhaps some of the great US/USSR clashes, Cold War by proxy, actually acted as a safety valve, allowing an expression of jingoism and competition in a safe place, while cooler heads could prevail in the realms of armies, navies, and air forces. As Churchill once said, “Jaw, jaw, jaw is better than war, war, war.”

When I watch the Opening Ceremony tomorrow, I will marvel that so many disparate nations, nations that even today are very unfriendly, are gathering peacefully in one place for something as beautifully mundane and glorious as sport. When I travel to London next Thursday to actually attend an Olympic event, I will get a feeling I always get when visiting London of a global metropolis, yet British city, vibrant and resilient.

I remember a cartoon from 2005. A spectral Hitler was saying to bin-Laden something along the lines of “Don’t bomb Londoners. It doesn’t work. I tried.”

So often nations only seem to gather together in death. Sometimes this is at funerals of the great – just think of the international nature of the funeral of Pope John Paul II the Great. Other times it is of tragedy. A vast number of countries, and people within those countries, in this world have expressed sympathy with the victims of the murderer at the screening of a batman film in the US. I remember, in 2005, at baseball’s All-Star Game the bands played “God Save the Queen”. I watched it and cried. I just found it a shame so few of my countrymen probably realised how, at a very time and place, America mourned with us as we had mourned with them four years previously.

Tomorrow, the world will be gathered for reasons other than death. It is something to celebrate. I intend to do so.