Out4Blood & El_Cap's Rise of Nations Strategy

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

RoN Oscar Speeches Part 3 of 10:
Most Active Supporter: TWC_Morrigu (be prepared, this is a long one)

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who nominated me and voted for me as "Most Active Supporter"! :)

Since every "real" Oscar winner thanks his/her parents, I'm going to do that, too: my father for the genes that make me some kind of techie (or call it nerd) and my mother for the genes that give me a talent for languages! :)

Who's next? Oh yeah, my "producer" of course, which in my case is MFO! So special thx to Mr. Fixit and blue_myriddn who set up MFO some years ago and made it a great place for gamers, providing a gaming community in general and software to help running tourneys smoothly! :)

Of course, the software is only part of it, w/o my "teachers" and "helpers", I would never have been able to host any tourneys at all. So, BIG HUGE thx in memoriam to Mr. Ed who taught me the basics and really saved my life when I hosted my first SDs! Other MFO'ers have been of invaluable help, too, Zhou comes to mind, TWC_Tannenbaum, KBS_Chimaira and of course all the players who lent a helping hand by answering questions in the lobby while I was updating brackets or trying to clear up some mess. Also, my thx to all the players who have always been very patient w/ the chaos that naturally ensues when you're hosting BIG tourneys w/ 200+ players.

Which leads me to BHG and their community manager Graham "Thunder" Somers. Big huge thx to BHG for making such a great game and sponsoring really big events at MFO and especially to Graham for the smooth team-work in handling these events! :)

I hope by now I'm sounding like a "real" Oscar winner by boring everyone to tears w/ my "thanks-list"! ;)

So, onto the two questions El_Capitan asked me to answer in my speech:

1. Why you are so active in the online community?

Hmm, digging a bit into my "gaming history" here: I actually bought a new computer way back when AoE came out since my old 386/SX16 wasn't quite up to the task of handling AoE *cough*. For almost a year I amused myself w/ playing countless player-made campaigns and scenarios which I downloaded from AoEH - at work during my lunch break (the downloading part). RoR came out, I had to have it, but I wasn't impressed, especially not w/ the campaigns coming along w/ the game. So, I kinda ditched it and continued to play campaigns/scens. BUT, I started to get involved w/ the player community at RoRH at the same, so I finally bought a 56K modem, got an ISP and started playing online as a total and utter noob. 8 villies are plenty, if not overdoing it, right??? Lol!

Another addict was born, I played RoR every night online, made some great online friends, learned how to play at least kinda decently and had tons of fun. I've never been any better than a low inter on my best days, but those were the days, my friend! Ahh, sweet memories of raging battles! :)

AoK came out, I played that online, too, and although I was slightly better at it than at RoR, I still liked RoR better. Along came AoC, the xpac for AoK. Shortly after that, I stopped playing any RTS games online. I was fed up w/ all the rushes, flushes, grushes, smushes - you name it - and the build orders which meant if you were two seconds slow w/ your build order, you might just as well resign a few mins into the game. I had enough time on my hands to practice, but I didn't get any better at the game, it stopped being fun, so I quit.

I had stopped playing online, but occasionally showed up on the Zone for chatting w/ old friends. I had bought Diablo2 b/c of all the hype, installed it, looked at the graphics in utter disbelief thinking "you gotta be kidding me, 640x480 in the year 2000??? - I'll wait for a patch w/ a better resolution!!!" (like I had done w/ Dungeon Keeper II). So I had kinda ditched D2, not being impressed w/ the amazon the manual suggested I should play for starters to get familiar w/ the game. But then two of my old RoR buddies dragged me into playing Diablo2 online. Talk about another addictive game..., as of today I have FIVE accounts on bnet, all full of chars and mules, and I'm still playing that game online after almost FOUR years, including the xpac LoD, several patches etc. Can you say "moo"??? ;)

While being severely addicted to D2/LoD, I bought several RTS games and played them: AoM, EE, WC3 - but only single player. Kinda nice, but none of these games lured me back to playing RTS online, me thinking: "oh no, not these damn strict build orders again, I want to have FUN, not stress w/ fast clicking!". And then my old buddy Kleitus told me about RoN which he was playtesting. Knowing I had been an avid fan of RoR, he suggested I'd download the RoN demo and give it a try, he was pretty sure I'd like it. And boy, was he right! I fell hook line and sinker for that game! Great graphics, great gameplay, an absolute must-have!!!

So I preordered the game from Amazon UK and was drooling all over the place till it finally arrived end of May last year... I played the full version vs the AI on easiest and I heard a voice saying: "You gotta come back to playing online, this is the REAL follow-up to RoR you've always wanted!" That was the game, RoN, luring me back online. I followed the call... :)

So I reappeared online..., another old buddy from RoR times asked me to play w/ him in the first RoN SD ever hosted by MFO, I agreed. My comp was kinda fucked up at that time, so I dropped from the game, but when I was back, I talked to Swinger (then the RoN staff lead) about future SD setts mentioning that I had some more weird setts in mind which might be fun... And thus I was recruited for MFO's RoN team! As "luck" would have it, Swinger was pretty busy for the next few weeks and thus unable to host any more SDs, so w/ the enormous help of Mr. Ed I ventured into the world of hosting. Now, lemme tell you, hosting is ALWAYS stress AND fun. By and by, I learned how to handle the software, how to host properly, Mr. Ed was a GREAT teacher, and we were a good team. I handled the players online, Ed did the work behind the scenes like updating brackets while at the same time teaching me gradually how I could manage these taske myself, too.

When Patch3 was in the works and nearing its final stage, Graham "Thunder" Somers asked me if I'd be prepared to host something bigger than "just" an MFO SD. BHG was thinking about a big tourney sponsored by them and hosted by MFO! I was pretty scared, but I said I'd do it and try my best. And there was lil ole me hosting..., w/o Ed b/c he had all of a sudden died a week or so b4 the tourney started. I was still in shock about the loss, so I dedicated the tourney to him and thought to myself: "Now, you'll have to prove he was a great teacher and make the tourney a success!" This time, Zhou was the biggest help, also still in shock, but we did our "job" of handling the tourney! :)

Since that one was a huge success w/ many interesting rec games, BHG wanted MFO to host another tourney at Xmas time, after that they even sponsored an SD (which was some kinda first: the gaming company actually sponsoring an SD!) and another big tourney which took place beginning of March.

At the moment, things around tourneys/SDs are kinda quiet at MFO, everyone is waiting for the xpac T&P to come out and several clans are hosting their own RoN tourneys.

Which, after much babbling, still doesn't answer El_Cap's question: WHY am I that active? - Easy answer at last: it's sometimes pretty stressful, but it's fun, too. It's fun to see a tourney being a success w/ players being happy (after clearing up the inevitable mess for the first two hours approx.), great rec games for the community, players saying "thx for hosting", winners being REALLY happy (I can almost see them dancing around). I'll never been known for being an expert player, but at least I'm known for being a decent host - a different quality, but one I believe is vital to a gaming community as well!

Since I love the game, I'm doing what I am best at: not playing, not posting new strats, but answering questions and hosting tourneys!

2. If you could change one thing about RoN to make it better, what would it be?

Easy question, easy answer: the multiplayer service in general! I believe a lot more people would play RoN online if these mp annoying probs like games crashing, people behind a router/firewall not being able to host or join games and rated games not being accounted for properly could be solved.

Most Informative Supporter: Rohag

Thanks to all for recognizing me among the many active folks who share their enjoyment of Rise of Nations with the wider community. Ironically, my "informative support" role, which grew out of an interest in the pre-publication development of the game, has been overtaken by ranks of excellent gamers whose understanding of RoN through exhaustive play far exceeds mine.

I hope the diverse RoN community continues to grow and flourish. May our enthusiasm for this game provide fodder for game developers seeking publishing support for first-rate historical strategy titles.

El_Capitan: "Why are you so interested in keeping the online community updated as to all that is going on?"

Rohag: "Earlier it was in part a response to the fragmentation of the young, pre-publication RoN fan community at the time of AoM's publication in the latter part of 2002. Obsidian and Zen of RoN Heaven, Bonnie of RoN Empire, the pre-angelic One_Dead_Villy, Thunder and I felt a newsletter spanning all the sites would provide a bit of needed cohesion. I had already been collecting news for the defunct RoN Pantheon, so I just kept on doing pretty much the same, channeling
the newsletter through mailing mechanisms set up on RoN Heaven's server by Zen.

"That was then. Now it's just one more manifestation of an obsessive-compulsive disorder."

El_Capitan: "If you could change one thing about RoN to make it better, what would it be?"

Rohag: "I've often redesigned the game in my head, but the results would yield a different experience; it wouldn't be RoN anymore. If, however, I could change
one thing about RoN *as it is* to make it better, it would be adding an easy-to-use nation editor. Then everyone could have their Swedens and Khmers, Polynesias and Russian Georgias, Canadas and Microsoftias.'

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