Admittedly the season ending was anti-climactic, as saunamen were unable to field a team and we had to take a forfeit win in the final. Nevertheless we proved ourselves by defeating them convincingly in regular season play and our score sheet for the season is perfect with six played wins, no losses or draws. There’s no doubt in my mind that we’re worthy champions and the overall strongest season 15 team.
Franky prepares a traditional Swedish dish: French Lerk chops.
Ingame we carried ourselves well this season, although lack of regular practice left our play very haphazard at times. Between marko’s shotgun, franky’s Fade, s4′s skulk and the all-round play from the rest of us, we were able to dominate most matches through raw skill alone. Our alien side turned out statistically perfect: we didn’t lose a single alien round in season 15 officials. Of course, our alien play wasn’t actually perfect. We made lots of mistakes and had some very close games (Week 6 vs. CAL on orbital comes to mind!) but in the end we always managed to outperform the opponent and take the win. As the team’s alien comm, that’s something I’m very pleased with obviously.
Commanding. Not for the faint of heart.
Our marine side struggled more, however. Dux did a great job adapting to the comm chair, but he’s a field player at heart and re-educating yourself to be a perfect commander in one season simply isn’t possible. Combine that with weak team play and lots of silly mistakes in the field and you have the reason why our marine half wasn’t as reliable as perhaps it should’ve been this season. Fortunately for us, marko is a one-man marine team.
Nerf marko plz!!
Outside of the game things weren’t so idyllic unfortunately, as inactivity hit us just as hard as all the other division 1 teams. I suppose it was a combination of people having other priorities and the fact that for the last month of the league it was practically impossible for us to find opponents for practice matches. When there’s nobody to play, it’s difficult to get the motivation to show up for matches instead of doing something else. At times we had so few people on we had to use mercs for officials — practically unheard of in any previous incarnations of 9L. It’s disappointing for me of course, having put so much time into organizing the team, but understandable.
Six weeks of this was “fun”.
We still had a lot of fun when we actually did play though and this is without a doubt one of the nicest groups of people I’ve played with in the past seven years. When you put together a new team from a lot of players who don’t really know each other, there’s always the risk you won’t gel socially. Although we all knew who each other were, many of us had never teamed up together before, so this was a bit of an experiment. Fortunately things turned out great in the end.
Team spirits are off to a good start!
As usual with 9L, the IRC and Ventrilo (TeamSpeak actually… the times, they are a changin) antics were great. From the endless queries about Tweadle’s — our lost leader who randomly turned up for the semi final and then disappeared again — current whereabouts to terrorizing s4 with steam calls and Doctor’s failure to quit NS, there was no lack of “teh funnay”.
Fuck your three Hives, NOW we dance!
I’d like to thank Doctor, dux, enigmatic, franky, GibbZ, mOkezi, lagga, Tweadle and s4 for the good times this season. Hopefully you guys will stick around next year and who knows, maybe even play some NS…2? Well, maybe not just yet, but stay in touch and don’t let the IRC priv chan die! Thanks to our opponents too and the ENSL staff of course, for yet another good tournament in this rather dead game. Lastly, to all of you reading this, I wish you a merry Christmas and an EXCELLENT new year!
This season’s been a bit up and down activity wise, but I think we’re finally starting to realize that NS is actually nearing the end of its lifespan. I’ve seen the community through its ups and downs for seven years now and I’ve never seen it this dire. It’s been a good run though and with NS2 improving steadily and hopefully reaching a playable state soon, maybe it’s a good time for it to end.
We’ve got some business to attend to first though! Two (hopefully!) matches remain for us this season, the semi final against DeGz and then possibly the final against Saunamen or TROLLS. All great matchups and well worth spectating. We’ll probably be playing the semi final against DeGz at 18 CET Sunday the 5th of December (tomorrow!) and then hopefully the final at 20 CET.
Unfortunately the last month has seen a serious bout of inactivity in the entire scene — in what little is left of it anyway. Even just getting a PCW has proven difficult and officials not being played has been the norm rather than the exception. While we weren’t the first to stop playing, this has affected us too. Our practice lately has been non-existant, in part due to no opponents and in part due to lack of available players. As a result, the quality of our play has taken a nose dive. We still intend to finish this season in style and with semi finals coming next week we’ll hopefully get back into activity and melt some faces.
Last week we played a two matches in a row on Sunday, to try to catch up with the season schedule. We defeated both DeGz and CAL-NS, although in a less than impressive manner and are pretty much guaranteed a spot in the semi finals even though we have two matches remaining. Unfortunately lagga had some problems with the ENSL plugin, which delayed the DeGz match by an hour and ultimately forced us to play with mercs. Big thanks to Osku for mercing against DeGz and to Doctor for mercing against CAL-NS.
I’m not entirely sure what’s going on with Prostokvashino or TROLLS, but hopefully we’ll play those matches on Sunday to wrap up the league part of Season 15.
Unfortunately Doctor decided to cut his time with us short as he needed to focus on his studies. Fun times were had and we wish him good luck in the future. To fill out our roster we’ve recruited GibbZ, previously of The Sproggalots. He’s an accomplished player that can fill any role on the team if needed and a welcome addition to our merry band.
In addition, dux will be taking over as Commander, probably for the remainder of the season — maybe even permanently? He’s still a field player at heart, but his commanding is already at a good level and improving every time we play. I expect nothing but good things.
The top match of the league part of the season is coming up this week. The 9L-TROLLS drama has been going on for a while now, and although it’s pretty weak stuff, it’s better than nothing. The outcome of this match probably doesn’t make much of a difference, but e-egos are on the line and both 9L and TROLLS have those in abundance. This should be an intense, closely fought and entertaining match — and who knows, maybe there will even be some proper drama and rivalry to add some excitement to this season.
A more relaxing week for us than last, as we feel that we’ve got pretty good control over Prosto from the PCWs we’ve played — as opposed to last week, when we had no idea what to expect from Saunamen. Still, there’s no doubt Prosto have several able players, especially in Snake, bHack and mp and we’re going to have to play our best to get the 4-0 we want.
Points might end up not mattering much though. I don’t think it’s been decided yet if there will be semis or a straight final this season? I guess it’s going to be semis even though that makes the league portion of the season pointless. Makes no sense to me, but I digress… In any case I’m sure it’s going to be a GG as the Russians have proven to be one of the most civilised top teams and are always fun to play against.
I was very pleasantly surprised by Saunamen turning up for this match. Hopefully this means they’re getting back to activity. We’d been practicing sporadically for this match, as we didn’t think we’d get to play it, but it turned out that was enough. Some excellent shotgunning by marko on metal, safe Fading by franky and pro Lerking by enig were high points of the match. Our alien rounds were rock solid, but we had some trouble on the marine rounds.
Saunamen surprised us by doing some weird one RT strat on metal, which really put us off our game, but we managed to win the game through sheer pressure on their starting Hive. Unfortunately we weren’t able to keep alien res down on tanith and ended up being swamped by fades even though we killed 10+. Kudos to Tane for carrying Sauna through the midgame as super risky Fade.
All in all I’m happy with our performance and we’re going to work hard on fixing our weaknesses in time for the final.
Courtesy of youtube, here are some video recaps of our S15W1 match against Team Fantasy, with blind commenting! Big kudos to him for putting in the work. These are a very good alternative to watching the HLTV demos, although you get a bigger picture and have more control with the demos. Blind also made a similar recap for the UGO-gorgerush match, well worth checking out.
The first match for our new team against the haphazard but veteran Team Fantasy. Judging by player strength alone, we should have this in the bag. However things are never that simple. We’ve only been playing together for a couple of weeks now and we’re still in the early stages of gelling as a team. Team Fantasy on the other hand have been playing together for years and won’t have any trouble in that department. The second map choice of ns_lucid adds another joker to the deck, which could benefit either team. Anything but a victory will be a disappointment for us obviously, but losing a round wouldn’t be too shocking.
This was a lock for us. No mistakes and clean, controlled play throughout. The kind of stuff that makes in-game leaders all moist. In summary: marko brought the aimbot shotgun, franky’s fade was as safe as the United States gold reserve and dux’ meds struck us like lightning seeking lightning rods. Good game.
That’s right, Nine Legends are back for another season of ENSL! Season 13 was a bit of a disappointment, but we’re going to do our best to restore the team honor this season. We’ve got a brand new team with a lot of talent on it and I’m confident we’ll make an impact. I won’t mince words on this: Our goal is to win. Any other result will be a disappointment.
So who’s on the roster this time around? First there’s me of course, Fana, fearless leader and do-it-all. Co-leading with me is Tweadle, formerly of The Sproggalots. On the strictly player side we’ve got marko and enigmatic of saunamen fame, carry marine and lerk respectively. We’ve also got dux, with no introduction needed and lagga, formerly of The Sproggalots, holding down the UK side of things. To top it off we’ve got the dynamic brotherly duo from Sweden, franky and s4, rocking the Fade. Franky used to play for 9L under the alias Kira, while s4 is new to the team, coming from Take Over.
Anyone up to date on European competitive NS knows that this is a pretty hard core roster, actually the first to really rival the original 2005 9L roster in terms of name power. We’ve rightly been called imba and bitched at for hogging all the best players by the other teams. That said, this isn’t some fantasy land where names on a roster win games. There are a lot of good players out there and many tough rounds of NS to be played. Add to that the fact that this team has never played together before and we don’t have a dedicated commander at the moment, and it should be obvious to anyone that this season is going to be a nail biter.
See you on the servers and have fun everyone — NS aint ready for the coffin just yet!
I finally got around to updating my list of the top Natural Selection movies — in other words the Natural Selection movies that are worth watching. Quite a few newcomers on the list, while some old ones have dropped off. Go check it out yo.
I should also mention that the work on what’s probably going to be my last Natural Selection movie ever is still moving forward, if a bit slowly.
First things first: Make no mistake, I love bunnyhopping and I’m biased as hell. This post is an argument for implementing bunnyhopping in NS2.
For a few months now there’s been a debate regarding bunnyhopping in NS2 on the NS2 forums. At first it looked like it was going to be the usual name calling contest with occasional attempts at serious but uninformed discussion. This time however, several intrepid posters made sure the debate got taken to another level. The debate has mainly concerned the viability and balancing of bunnyhopping in NS2. Considering the awesome posts made, I don’t think I can add anything to this. Therefore I’m going to start off by quoting some of the most important points.
Quoting the posts in their entirety would take too much space, so I’ll have to boil it down to the bare essentials. I highly encourage you to read the full posts though, especially the ones by TeoH. They’re probably the most well written and thought out posts I’ve seen on the subject — ever. I’ve provided direct links to the posts I’ve quoted.
You’ve got many who see it as a way to gain an edge via skill, increasing the skill ceiling and allowing better, more dedicated players to gain an advantage. It’s also a very smooth skill-to-performance system. You can progress about linearly in bhop skill and get about a linear gain in performance.
In order for melee vs ranged to work at higher levels of play in a FPS, it’s necessary that there is some skill quotient to the melee side that will properly scale all the way up with player ability, in order to match the wild scaling of people’s aiming ability when using accurate weapons. Since aiming really isnt relevant at all to a melee class, a complex and very deep movement system is ESSENTIAL to making these fights work at all skill levels.
If all the skulk has to work with is incredibly basic ‘push forward to go forward’ movement, and a leap button with no quakeworld bananajump control, along with the ability to stick to walls which is exactly the same form of motion as being on the ground… While the marines have precise aiming while moving to develop… The inevitable result is that if you balance skulk vs marine at any particular skill level, your balance will be wildly off at skill levels significantly higher or lower than that.
NS has fairly accurate rapid fire hitscan weapons. The thing about fairly accurate rapid fire hitscan weapons is, in the absence of more interesting movement techniques, the most effective way to dodge against them is to spaz left and right in as random and meaningless a pattern as possible. As it happens, spazzing left and right in a random meaningless pattern is not much of a deep skill. However, if you add techniques such as bunnyhopping and quakeworld air control into the mix, which may be preferrable to random spazzing because of the speed advantage they have in closing a melee vs ranged fight, things become more interesting.
To clarify something for people who haven’t necessarily played at a higher level: Once people start to be able to aim properly, jumping is not an evasive advantage against a hitscan machine gun. Practically any form of movement that locks you into a particular path is bad, jump arches can be tracked easily. Bunnyhopping while closing distance is viable as a result of the speed advantage it gives, inspite (not because of) the disadvantage of a more rigid movement path. As i’ve said, the most effective way to dodge an accurate hitscan weapon is randomly mashing left and right, because tracking becomes inpossible, prediction goes out the window, a lot of the skills that players with good aim develop become null and void. If you increase skulk base movement speed and stick with generic forward/back/left/right movement, all that happens is people mash left and right quicker.
The speed boost from moving through the air is the lure that encourages players to adopt this form of movement instead of the brainless alternative that would be adopted if it had no speed advantage. The result is the skulks practice to develop their advanced movement skills, speeding up in the air while intentionally hitting good lines of attack, instead of mashing strafes randomly – and marines develop the aiming skills of reading and tracking skulk trajectory through the air, getting familiar with the curves they’re likely to take to maximise speed and the limits of their air control. This is good for both players, and results in interesting and indepth combat that scales well for both sides.
I’m afraid i don’t have an alternative to hopping that serves the same gameplay function through different means, in 15 years of FPS games nobody has developed one yet. Intentionally creating such a thing is incredibly difficult, it took the early quake players several years just to fully explore the physics and the implications of all the little tricks they could do in that engine. It is a very simple set of physics quirks that cause all the hopping, acceleration and air control techniques to work, incredible complexity arising from a few simple rules, developing such a thing from scratch would take some real effort.
Phew, now that that’s out of the way, I’ll get on with the point I want to get across. I’m going to quote a few more posts to set the mood.
mastery is what you want to have in the game, it’s what keeps people playing beyond the initial novelty of being in some sort of aliens movie spaceship scenario and looking at a big fleshy rhino monster. Mastery motivates people, and it results in player satisfaction from accomplishing something that they knew took substantial skill and effort. That’s a feeling you can’t get from Mario Party or snakes and ladders.
My belief of what makes NS great is its unpredictability. A relevant to topic example being the way people can surprise eachother even after playing it for 8 years because perhaps the marine does a little but fast silent crouch hop onto a railing and flys over the others head.
Its exactly the skill-based movement that keeps melee vs ranged interesting
My point is this: Bunnyhopping is FUN!
1. Rewards time spent practicing, giving an incentive to keep playing.
2. Gives a great feeling of mastery.
3. Encourages creativity.
4. Opens up new possibilities in combat.
5. Makes it possible to create ace players on the melee side of combat.
6. Can even create a game within the game.
I’m going to elaborate on these points in the following, using videos from Natural Selection gameplay to exemplify.
Bunnyhop example 1: Sub-sector rails
This is a fairly easy but efficient jump combination to take out marines building the RT in Sub-sector on ns_veil. This is a good example of bunnyhopping creating new possibilities in combat. Without bunnyhopping, there would be zero viable opportunities for the skulk to attack the marine once he’s gotten to the RT. Just straight jumping over the rails and running towards the marine is too slow and he’ll be able to disconnect from building the RT and shoot the skulk down with ease. It’s still a risky move though, half the time against equally skilled players, the marine will kill the skulk. Teamwork between two skulks doing the same maneuver or one distracting radically increases the chances of success.
Bunnyhop example 2: Maintenance jump
This is a bit more nuanced example. This isn’t the only way viable way to frag a marine building the maintenance RT — it isn’t even the safest way to do it. The safest way is to go through the vents below the RT and sneak up to the marine. However in this scenario bunnyhopping creates an additional opportunity for attack. An attack option that’s also spectacularly flashy. Without bunnyhopping it’s impossible to get enough speed to cross the gap. Now, one could simply make the gap smaller or the skulk faster and the opportunity would be there without bunnyhopping, but that’s disregarding a very important part of the equation: mastery.
If it was possible to do it by just jumping normally over the rails, anyone could do it. There wouldn’t be anything special about it. When it becomes difficult to do, it also becomes more interesting to do. Now you have to practice to be able to do this particular attack. This gives incentives to keep playing the game and rewards time spent practicing.
This particular video is a very good example of that. Many years ago I practiced for weeks just to be able to do that jump once on an empty server. It took further months to be able to do it every time and even longer to master it in a combat situation. But it gave me a great feeling of mastery, great satisfaction, to be rewarded for my efforts. Tricks like these are why bunnyhopping makes melee vs. ranged combat more fun.
Bunnyhop example 3: mu vs. Levitacus
This is an example from an actual match, from the first season of ENSL back in 2005. Knife, a tournament favourite, was playing against Levitacus, the tournament dark horse, in a match that would likely decide which team got to the final. At the time Levitacus had one of Europe’s best shotgunners in Talis and their marine round was highly centered on him succeeding in taking out alien RTs and skulks quickly. Obviously Knife had to stop him somehow. The original plan was the usual one: to ambush the marine offence team while they were trying to kill the RT. This is usually a 50/50 situation for both teams, but with Talis’ shotgun skills they had a clear advantage.
Mu however, thinking on his feet, managed to take out Talis through very creative use of bunnyhopping and wallwalking before they even managed to get to the first RT. That gave Knife a vital advantage in the early game and they eventually won both the round and the match. Mu was rewarded both for his time spent mastering bunnyhopping and also his creative thinking using an opportunity only available because of bunnyhopping. Pulling off something like that is the height of fun for many players, including myself.
Bunnyhop example 4: wltrs vs. Levitacus
This last example is also from an actual match — the ENSL season 5 final between nL and Levitacus. In this situation wltrs was alone against two marines waiting for the RT to drop in Sub-sector, after they’d chased away the Lerk. Usually this would be a lost cause: two highly skilled marines in a large open area are almost impossible to take out for a single skulk and wltrs would’ve had to wait for some of his teammates to arrive. Unfortunately they are all busy defending alien RTs on the other side of the map, leaving him with no other choice but to attempt to do something by himself.
Taking advantage of the first marine being distracted, wltrs makes his move. The problem is taking out the second player, Inva, who is on the other side of the room. Normally this would be an easy frag for Inva if wltrs tried to rush. wltrs is also aware of this, but he knows that Inva isn’t expecting him to do something so foolhardy and exploits it by using bunnyhopping to fly forwards and bounce over the rails to take him out. Taking out both of Levitacus’ RT cappers is a big blow to their economy and nL eventually wins the round and the match. An almost impossible frag, made possible by bunnyhopping and great skill by wltrs.
This is a perfect example of how bunnyhopping makes it possible to have ace players on the melee side of the game. Just like Roger Federer, Lionel Messi, Tiger Woods or Kobe Bryant captivate audiences by doing the impossible, doing what nobody else can, players like wltrs could take control in NS matches because there was a movement system that rewarded skill and practice. Giving skulks the ability to leap from the start will never be able to replace this. Leap by its nature is not something that truly rewards practice — it’s something anyone can get big results from without practicing much. If everyone can do it, it becomes commonplace. Nobody finds commonplace interesting.
A game inside the game
Lastly bunnyhopping is itself a game inside the game. Not just because practicing it is a metagame, but also because one can have fun doing it without actually playing the game.
A few years back, myself and many other players had a lot of fun just running around on maps and finding jumps that were only possible to do through clever thinking or perfect bunnyhopping. Sometimes to get to places otherwise inaccessible, other times just for the hell of it. This culminated in several trickjumping movies that were a great success at the time. With bunnyhopping you’re basically getting a free second game with the game — is that really something you can say no to?
Without bunnyhopping none of these movies, or the many others created by other moviemakers, would’ve been possible to make. Without bunnyhopping we wouldn’t even have been able to have fun jumping around on maps trying to find new and clever ways to use the geometry. Bunnyhopping adds immensely to the game and that far outweighs the slight negative impact it has on the atmosphere and learning curve.
In my opinion Natural Selection had the perfect combination of free alien bunnyhopping and very limited marine bunnyhopping (bear in mind that most of the marine jumps in the trickjumping videos posted above are only possible if you throw away all your guns first). I pray to every deity that exists that a similar system will be implemented in NS2. That said, even just bunnyhopping for the skulks would make a huge impact in terms of gameplay, even if it ruins most of the fun in trickjumping.
I would also like to point out a very common fallacy in the argument against bunnyhopping. Many opponents of bunnyhopping claim that it hurts the ambushing game. What they don’t take into account is that ambushing is still a very important part of skulk play in NS, even for those who have mastered bunnyhopping. Bunnyhopping and ambushing are not mutually exclusive. In many situations, ambushing is still the best way of taking out the marines. Sometimes bunnyhopping even promotes ambushing: Hiding spots that would otherwise be too far away from the expected marine path can now be used because bunnyhopping allows the skulk to close the distance in time when the marines go past.
Bunnyhopping creates alternatives, so that the game isn’t only about finding somewhere to hide and pop out when the opportunity arises. Such gameplay would quickly become boring for the majority of the player base.
In conclusion (tl;dr): The positive aspects of bunnyhopping outweigh the negative aspects by such a large margin that I’m absolutely convinced it should be implemented in NS2 — similarly to how it was implemented in NS.
Obviously things have been pretty quiet around here the last few months. The reason is simple: I’ve been really busy with exams. With the last one finished earlier today, I’m ready to get back into NS again. I’m not really sure where take over stands at the moment, or if there’s even going to be another ENSL season on NS1, but in any case I intend to keep playing in preparation for NS2.
Some assorted news and thoughts:
I’m going to start working on two new NS1 movies very shortly. These are going to be my last NS1 movies EVER, so this should be interesting. I’m not going to release any details about it just yet, but rest assured this will materialize.
I’m not sure what’s going to happen with 9L.ns2. I/we had originally planned to try putting together a 9L reunion of sorts, but I doubt this is going to materialize. To be honest the season 13 reform left me a bit disappointed. Of course playing with the dudes again was fun, lots of fun actually, but I also realized that life is really starting to catch up with most of us. Priorities change and most simply don’t have the time or motivation needed to play at the top level. I guess we’ll see what happens — I don’t even know if NS2 is going to be worth playing yet.
Take Over got destroyed by BALLS in the ENSL Season 14 semi final a few weeks back. Big disappointment. It was a fair win though; we got outplayed at every turn. Unfortunately the team wasn’t able to prioritize at the moment when it was the most needed and almost a full month of lackadaisical practice left us helpless. I’m sure the players in question had good reasons, but it’s still very frustrating. This isn’t some great new development though — the team with the greatest stamina and will to win usually comes out on top in the end. It just feels a bit strange watching it from this side. In the past I’ve usually been on the team that hunkered down and kept practicing until the end no matter what.
I’ve also realized a few things about leadership. No offence to x-man and Danny, they’re good guys, but they simply didn’t put in the time that was needed to shepherd this team to the finish line. Again, I’m sure they had very good reasons, real life tends to override computer game commitments, but this is essential to the winning formula. Having a good leader who knows his shit and always puts in the time needed to rally the troops and get stuff done is a rare but very important commodity in NS. I’m not going to claim I was some great leader, because I certainly wasn’t, but I’ve known a few in the past. They really do make the difference between a half-assed group of players and a sharp team.
Hopefully we’ll see a resurgence of strong leaders in NS2.
Fana: and considering you’ve kept me waiting for four months, you should survive for one day
esJ: has it seriously been that long?
esJ: fuckkk ….
Fana: no, it’s been five months even
Yessir. But hey, it’s here and it’s good, so let’s not complain. esJ certainly doesn’t waste words, but his picks are good. All great movies, although our lists are very different. Just goes to show how big of a difference personal preference makes. Check them out!
Yet another freestyle tricking video, this time from the hands of LSD. It has quake trickjumping, it’s made by shaoprod and it’s really, really good. I don’t know what else to say really.
If you’re looking for a movie which just oozes style and originality, this is it. Hailing from the producer/player pez, it has some mindblowing frags, a brutal electro soundtrack and the kind of energy that just leaves you wanting more.
It’s a movie, it’s by Electry, it’s about a top UT2004 player. The frags are sick, the soundtrack is sick, the editing is sick. This movie is sick. Go get a bucket before you watch it, thats the amount of sick we’re talking about here.
By the time the intro finishes, and the first frag clip kicks in, you know you’re in for something special here. Crazy frags by Maxxur set to an energetic, pumping psytrance soundtrack, and fantastically smooth, relatively minimalist editing which seems to be the staple from french moviemakers Easy Productions.
Proving that cRZYFST still has some aces left in his sleeve, this minimalist movie shows off some of the more famous (and more commonly known) frags of recent years, from a number of international heavyweights.
This is the improved version of the ENSL 2009 Movie contest winner, Army of Wltrs. Featuring some of the best frags and editing ever seen in an NS movie.
It’s taken a lot of effort, but I think it has paid off. While you may not notice them all, the changes are too many to list. I especially tried to improve on the things that got commented on when the original movie was released. Specifically that the movie was too dark, too blurry and that the intro was sloppy. There’s also about 25 seconds of new footage, mostly in the first part of the movie. The most easily recognizable changes are also in the first part of the movie.
If you missed the original Army of Wltrs, this is a great time to see it in improved form. On the other hand, if you have seen it, this is a great time to rewatch it. I’m glad to finally be able to release this, I hope you enjoy it. Drop some comments and let me know what you think!
Click on the poster or this link to go to the release page where you’ll find more information and download links.
The youtube stream doesn’t work at the time of this posting. It has to be processed first. It should work in a couple of hours.
It’s been a long way coming, but I’ve finally managed to man up and get down to it.
For those of you who live in a cave or something (how are you even on the Internet if you live in a cave!?), Army of Wltrs won the ENSL Movie Competition in May 2009. It was universally lauded as one of the best NS movies to date and I was fairly pleased with it. That said, it was far from perfect. Unfortunately I had to rush it through production to finish it in time for the contest deadline and it shows.
Part of the reason why I haven’t been spreading it around after winning the contest, is because I wanted to patch it up first. I haven’t quite had the motivation for the past year, but finally I’m back in business. Barring any unforseen problems, the improved Army of Wltrs will be released sometime this weekend. Probably on Sunday.
The changes I’ve made are too numerous to list and this time around I can finally say that this is the movie I wanted to release. It’s still the same movie though, so don’t go expecting the second coming of Christ. Many of the changes you probably won’t even notice, while others are pretty obvious. Without revealing too much, the introduction part of the movie has received particularly much attention.
Having started out relatively boring the first couple of weeks, season 14 is finally getting exciting. We’re now in week 4, which means most teams have two matches left to play before the playoffs start.
At first this seemed like the boring group, the easy prediction being take over taking the top seed and newstyled grabbing the second seed. Since then, things have changed however. While there’s little doubt take over will take the top seed, the fight for the second seed seems a lot more open now. Judging from roster strength, newstyled seemed overpowering for all the other teams. But that was only until I realised that their ex-flatline carry players are only roster filling and the team doesn’t seem to practice outside of officials. With that in mind, the Professors now seem like a viable challenger for the second spot in the playoffs. They’ve got players with both experience and skill and seem to be practicing, at least more than newstyled.
The last two weeks will be key for both teams. The Professors need to take at least one round from take over to be on even ground with newstyled, who managed to steal a round from take over in week 3 with a daring shotgun rush. That’s not going to be an easy task and take over will be expecting shenaningans like shotgun rushes this time around. Even if they lose 4-0, they still have a chance though, because in week 5 they’ll face newstyled to finally decide which of them will grab the second spot in the playoffs. Winning a round against take over is important because that means a tie with newstyled will result in a tie breaker for the second spot, instead of the dreaded third place. The situation is more straightforward for newstyled, who only need to avoid losing rounds to New Team and then either drawing or winning against the Professors.
Originally the most exciting group, but now less so in my mind. A lot could still happen, but right now it seems like RAMBOS will take the top seed and BALLS will get the second spot. That means BALLS will have to face take over in the semi final. Not a pleasant prospect.
RAMBOS and BALLS tied in a very close match in week 3 and they seem pretty much even at the moment. The reason why I’m predicting RAMBOS for the top seed, is because BALLS slipped and lost a silly round against Stray Dogs earlier. All RAMBOS has to do now is win 4-0 against their remaining opponents, which shouldn’t pose any big difficulties for them. If they manage to do that, they’re pretty much guaranteed a place in the final. I can’t even imagine the possibility of them losing against either of their two possible semi final opponents.
After a few months of break since the conclusion of season 13, the ENSL is back in action with season 14. As usual, the participating teams are getting fewer and fewer every season, with season 14 coming in at 10 teams spread over two divisions. I’m still playing with take over, the current tournament favorites. We’ve been placed in Group A, arguably the easier one of the two. Our biggest challenge is going to be newstyled, who has a few scary names on their roster. Unfortunately for them, neither they nor their ex-flatline carry players seem very active.
In Group B we’ve got the other two top contenders this season: Balls and RAMBOS. Both are very decently skilled and could take the title if they play their cards right. As it is right now, there’s not much doubt about who’s going to go through to the semis. The only real competition is the fight for the top seed. This is most important for the teams in Group B, where the top seed will probably get a much easier opponent in their semi final.
There’s no doubt we’re teetering on the edge of the league finally dying — until NS2 is released at least — but I’m still having fun playing. Strange. If you’d have told me two years ago that this is what I’d be doing in 2010, I would’ve laughed and called you a loon.
As I’m sure most interested parties know by now, details and a short video of the Natural Selection 2 Lerk were released yesterday on the NS2 website. Unfortunately, at least for my part, the released information was very disappointing. Instead of building on the 3.x style Lerk, which has been a huge success in every way, they’ve decided to revert to the 1.0x style Lerk with a 3.x flight model. Now sure, pubbers had a lot of fun sitting in vents shooting spikes, but I’d like to think we’ve moved on in the six years since then. No matter how you look at it, the 3.x style Lerk promotes much deeper gameplay and adds a lot of excitement to the game.
Unsurprisingly, there was an uproar on ENSL when people starting realizing what was happening. I personally said something along the lines of “I’ve lost all faith in NS2″ which perhaps was a bit harsh, but still described my feelings at that exact moment. [EDIT: I guess I should clarify this. I haven't actually lost all faith in NS2, it was just a way to vent my frustration. Perhaps not the best way, but I can think of many worse ways too.] Since then, I’ve tried to start a discussion in the thread on the NS2 forums. Right now I seem to be the only one voicing my concern unfortunately. Even a prominent Australian competitive player (shame on you, Sir!) came out and stated that he preferred the new Lerk concept to the 3.x “flying skulk”. I’m not sure how that makes me feel about the Lerking quality of our Australian brothers, but it seems like they’ve missed out on something important.
In any case, if you’re reading this and you agree with me — and you damn well better you useless slags — please try to voice some reasonable concerns about the Lerk in the thread. Maybe there’s a chance we can still turn this ship around.
If you can’t beat them, join them! Sound logic for me, as I joined take over when 9L folded after ENSL season 13. I’ve been playing with them for a few weeks now, and I have to say I’m positively surprised. They’ve got a good mix of old school and new school, carry players and work horses. They’ve also come across to me as a nice bunch of dudes, which is very important to me. They actually remind me a lot of 2004 Knife, which really is one of the greatest superlatives I can give.
This last weekend we participated in the 16th Night Cup, with great success. After easily defeating Team Fantasy and Russian Standard, we faced the formidable RAMBOS in the final. According to the popular vote, they were the favourites to win, although I think take over was the top seed judging from roster strength. That said, RAMBOS has a very solid roster too, featuring carry players like Almaty and aA. The match itself was very tense, especially the first round where heavy pressure and SGers constantly harassing our Hive gave us big problems. We were able to overcome those difficulties and take the round however. We played the next two rounds flawlessly, winning the match in convincing fashion. The last round was a bit of an afterthought as our comm left and the RAMBOS won a consolation round.
What’s especially interesting about this tournament from my point of view, is that I’ve basically come full circle. The InNox cup was my first tournament win, way back in 2004 with KTDM. Just like this Night Cup, we played three matches. Two were easy, one was difficult, and we won them all. Both KTDM and take over had a mix of grizzled veterans with many trophies under their belts and new players for whom this would be their first championship title. There is one big difference however. During the InNox cup, I was the up and coming player, hungering to reach the top, climbing on the shoulders of more experienced players. This Night Cup however, I was one of the grizzled veterans, supporting a cast of new talent. I can’t help but find some special significance in that. Perhaps this would be an opportune moment for me to quit, while still on top?