Warp Drive Active #137: Hair Care

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This one was a bit late, thanks to the tournament and stuff. Finally got to it though. One sorta interesting thing some might notice with the out-of-game version of Warp Drive Active is that it’s now sporting an advertisement for EVE. Don’t worry, I’m not going to start slamming Ad-sense all over the place or have animated EVE banners everywhere. It’s just one, which links to the 14 day trial for EVE. That’s it, nothing sinister.

If someone clicks on it and signs up for a 14-day trial then I think I get a few bucks, so tell your friends. 🙂

Valve Did Something Cool

This has been a heck of a week for Valve. They finally put the Steam Community out to the masses, finally out of beta. It’s essentially Xbox Live for the PC, except it’s free, doesn’t suck, and isn’t full of foul-mouthed 12-year olds.

The neat part about this is the ability to create a profile for yourself, describing your person to the world a bit, listing some of your favorite stuff, and tracking various gameplay stats. Here’s mine. It also lets you better track what your buddies are doing, and form or join groups with them. For example, the group I started this week for Mercenary Coalition, the EVE alliance I play with.

All of this comes with the eminent release of The Orange Box, Valve’s new Half-life 2 bundling which includes Team Fortress 2. The kicker is this week, if you’ve preordered that, they’ve treated you to a beta of TF2. TF2 is so ridiculously fun practically everyone I know goes home after work and plays it. It’s stylized like a Pixar cartoon, though one that doesn’t suck. Though the best way to describe how it looks is to see it, so here’s a clip. And I dare say the finished product (this clip is from GC2006) looks even more impressive.

Again, insanely fun, and there’s so many little goofy details in how the characters move and react. Definitely worth the wait. Valve’s also added some insane stats tracking for TF2 that adds achievements, similar to Xbox Live. Though here it doesn’t seem like some contrived way to make you play the game more, just some nifty stuff it keeps track of so you can compare with your friends.

To be honest, this has been the most impressive effort for Valve, in my opinion, to date. The whole package is there, and it’s a ton of fun at just the right price.

Warp Drive Active #135: A Solid Win

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Well the 4th Alliance Tournament is over, and the winner … *drum roll*… is HUN Reloaded! Congratulations go out to them, it was definitely an excellent win with a superb setup and team which worked very well together.

I don’t think anyone expected it to go that way, and personally I love it when this kind of thing happens. It was refreshing to have a tournament where the sure thing didn’t win, which should serve to prove to all the alliances out there that you don’t have to own have the map in EVE to be able to compete in these things. Overall the production of this tournament was top notch, with no streaming issues to speak of. This let everyone watch the matches live, and the inclusion of free streams of the prior days’ matches let you recap what you may have missed. Definitely a worthy feature.

The commentary for the final weekend was excellent, save for a few way-too-drunk moments on Sunday. 🙂 And the “CCP vs EVE TV” fight was a riot to watch, especially to see CCP mop the floor with the EVE TV crew.

Caldari Navy HookbillFor the final day’s matches I was lucky enough to be brought over to the tournament system to snag some screenshots. On a whim, I decided to do a bit of virtual photoblogging, putting up a bunch of shots from the tournament in near real-time on Flickr. If you’re curious and want to see what happened during the fights, venture over to my EVE 4th Alliance Tournament photo set and check it out.

A special thank you from me to the GMs who helped organize the event and the fights themselves, and allowed me to attend it in person. 🙂

Wilhelm Naked No More

A while back on Warp Drive Active podcast #5 we did a contest involving sci-fi quotes. We picked a winner, and as a prize he got himself a t-shirt with the comic of his choice emblazoned on the front. Being lazy, I didn’t get around to blogging about this, but here’s a link to his blog about it, including pictures of the shirt.

Congratulations once again Wilhelm.

EVE Tournament, weekend followup, controversy

The 4th EVE Alliance Tournament’s first weekend is over. You’ll hear some brief comments of mine on the Warp Drive Active podcast this week (due out today/tomorrow). Overall the action was good, there were some snores in the form of fights which were simply full of turtle logistics, which while effective is pretty much the worst thing to broadcast live for people to watch. Commentary was uneven, but on average was the best of any tournament so far. The effort taken to enlist several PVP experts from the community to talk about the fights has paid off.

Fallout from the tournament continues even now after the fights have finished. A big one happened today, with the announcement that Mercenary Coalition is pulling out of the tournament. You can read the announcement on this thread, along with the replies of the community. Seleene explains things in a bit more detail on page 2, while some of the replies serve more to justify the decision than anything else.

The situation this year is kind of strange. We have a really well produced tournament, with CCP and EVE TV doing an amazing job of putting on a good show for everyone to watch. It’s free. It’s for us, the players of EVE. There are a lot of people in Iceland right now working hard, long hours, to bring the action to the masses.

So why is the EVE TV forum turned into a complete sewer, filled with sad examples of poor sportsmanship, alt trolling, and a general harassing tone towards the event organizers?

I don’t know what really to say about this. I’m not surprised the obtuse viewpoints of some will fail to realize the reasons behind the MC’s decision, even when it’s explicitly laid out for them in a forum post. I feel bad that my alliance’s team won’t continue on, but I understand and support that decision wholeheartedly.

I’ll continue to watch the tournament and see who wins in the end, and we’ll see what kind of sensible debate can be had about the subject in the WDA podcast’s half-time cast coming soon.