While my motivation to play EQII has been waning of late, the urge hit me last night, so for the first time in a while I logged in. My Mystic Elrahir, is nearing the end of the quests in the Fens and I have never really been in Kunzar Jungle, so that’s where I headed. Of course, everything was kill on sight right away, so I had to carefully make my way to some quest givers to build up some faction. It only took one simple quest to no longer be kill on sight in the first village I came across, which gave me access to yet more quests. So, off I went to kill some Tigers, and Sabrecats, and whatever else my quest journal had tasked me to kill. It probably took about twenty minutes for me to realize I just wasn’t having any fun, so rather than push myself to continue, I sent an instant message to my work buddy Marc to see if he wanted to play Company of Heroes.

In my previous post, it was my other work buddy Joe who I was going to battle for CoH supremecy, but he was too chicken (that’s right, brawk, braaawwwk!) to log out of his EQII safety net, using the “I’m raiding” excuse. Marc however, couldn’t log out of World of Warcraft fast enough, he was so eager to get some CoH on. I gave myself precisely zero percent chance at beating Marc. For starters, he’s played CoH before, while I’ve only played a few skirmishes against the computer the past week. Secondly, he’s a real-time strategy game freak, posessing the ever important uber-micro skills. It was probably about two years ago now, that I was playing Rise of Nations a fair bit, to the point where I thought I was pretty good at it. I convinced Marc to pick the game up and give it a go. I figured I was going to slaughter him pretty good, what with him never having played the game before. Sadly, that was not the case. Apparently, RTS skills are fairly universal, and while I got off to a decent start, Marc eventually steamrolled over top of my army. So, knowing Marc had played CoH before, I was fully prepared to bow down in defeat.

Surprise!I was set up to play as the Wehrmacht, while Marc played the Americans. As soon as the match started I set my pioneers off on their merry way. It didn’t take long for me to have control of half the map, and the resources were coming in at a steady pace. I had set up some stationary MG42s and mortar units at some of the chokepoints, more as an “early warning system” than a defensive strongpoint. Our first little skirmish occurred between some infantry in the middle of the map, where my Volksgrenadiers proved their worth, wiping out the American squad. Not long after however, Marc sent some troops down my west flank, which conveniently enough for him, hadn’t been reinforced. Immediately after wresting control of one of my strategic points his squad ran straight into my newly deployed Panther Panzer (pictured). The Americans tried to run, but they couldn’t run fast enough, and within seconds my Panzer had obliterated them. I quickly re-took the strategic points and began to push forward. I have to admit, I smiled a little knowing full well that I took Marc by surprise. I was pretty sure he didn’t have any tanks at the time, so I’m assuming I sent him into a bit of a panic. Unfortunately, this moment would end up being my downfall.

Lights OutWith a renewed sense of confidence, I pushed my tank forward just as a second Panther was deployed. Marc, seasoned RTS veteran that he is, started deploying some anti-tank units. Crap. I forgot about those. Thinking that I had a good chance at an offensive, I focused entirely on my two tanks, forgetting about the rest of my production. It took just a few shots from the stupid, cheating, cheap-shot anti-tank guys to put me on the defensive. I started pulling back what units I had as the dirty Americans surged forward. The writing was on the wall as the American artillery rained fiery destruction down upon my positions. My production began to stall as Marc overtook strategic, and resource points as he pushed forward. I pressed my brave soldiers to fight to the death, and die they did. It wasn’t long before the Americans had my headquarters surrounded, pummeling it with all they had. I called in a Tiger tank reinforcement which managed to take on two American Sherman tanks, but eventually succumbed to more artillery fire. With that, my last stance, the game was over. The picture shows Marc pummeling away at my HQ next to the wreckage of my Tiger tank.

Despite getting my butt handed to me, I had an absolute blast. This is one fun game, and the graphical presentation of it is phenomenal. Joe says he’ll play tonight… we’ll see.

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