What do you get when you put two Real-time Strategy noobs that have a penchant for trash talking in front of Company of Heroes? You get a throwdown on an epic level of mediocrity, that’s what.
A little backstory… I was working hard at my desk yesterday, just like I always do, when the new mail icon popped up in my system tray. It turns out that the mail was from Joe, and much to my chagrin, appeared to be of a non-work-related nature. Of course I considered deleting the mail instantly without reading it, because, as I’m sure you know, the workplace is no place for discussing anything fun, and it’s just not something I like to engage in *cough* *cough*. My curiousity was piqued however, so I opened it up. It seems Joe wanted to initiate a discussion on real-time strategy games, asking “what will get you playing an RTS nowadays?” He hypothesized that the genre was losing people and wondered if Starcraft 2 will be its saviour.
Much discussion ensued between myself, Joe and our other “work buddy” who we’ll call Marc. It seemed to me that for a while it felt like RTS games were the only games being made. I burned out on them very quickly, with the original Starcraft being the last one I really played. I dabbled a bit in Age of Empires 2 and Rise of Nations, but certainly not to any great extent. I really only enjoyed playing RTS games multiplayer, but there’s no way I could compete with the freakish uber-micro skills of those players on the internet so I moved on to other genres and left RTS games behind. I suggested to the “work buddies” that perhaps we should have a scheduled game night every week where we choose a game, play against each other, and shoot the breeze over Ventrilo.
We all seemed to agree, at least Joe and I did, that we didn’t like how most RTS games seem to come down to who can hit their macro keys the fastest and rush up the tech trees first, rather than who actually had the best strategy. We eventually started talking about some newer games which we heard were good and while out for lunch at the mall across the street, which just so happens to have a game store in it, we came across Company of Heroes for $19.99. It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that once we started talking about trying out some of the RTS games we were discussing, that we’d end up buying one of them, and twenty dollars seemed like a decent price for a game that we all heard was really good. I was sold. Unfortunately, the store only had one copy, so our dreams of glorious multiplayer battles were squashed for the time being.
Undeterred however, I made some phone calls as soon as I got back to my desk, and discovered that another nearby store had two copies of Company of Heroes (Game of the Year Edition) also for $19.99. Giddy-up!
So that brings me back to the present. I’m pumped and ready to do battle, and Joe will be the target of my Company of Heroes fury. Neither of us has played the game before, and it’s been a long time since either of us have played an RTS, so it isn’t going to be pretty. But rest assured, that once we schedule a time to play, there will be some fireworks, and you’ll be able to read all about it right here. I may even let Joe write a post or two here so you can all see things from the loser’s perspective. Oh yeah, it is officially on!
Without making an entire blog post about it, I just wanted to mention that I’m sick and tired of copy protection on PC games. After installing COH last night, I launched the game and was immediately prompted to install the latest patch in order to play multiplayer. It was getting late and I just wanted to check the single-player game out so I said “no” to the patch. I was then asked to sign up for a Relic account so I could “always be online” with COH. Again, I just wanted to quickly check the game out so I looked for where I could get to the main menu. Well, it turns out my only options were to log in with a current account, or exit the game; I couldn’t even create a new account as the button was greyed out. There was no way to get to the main menu. I re-launched the game and downloaded the multiplayer patch when prompted which was 114 MB. Patching the game enabled the create a new account button, which I did, and was then taken to the main menu. Why the heck was I forced to patch the game, and then create an online account, before I could get to main menu? It’s things like this, and the stupidness that was the Bioshock activation that is driving more and more gamers to the consoles where I can just put in my disk, power on the system, and play.