Wildstar Reloaded – Part 2: This time, It’s not lagging!

It’s safe to say that Wildstar has had a bit of a rough re-launch this week. Thankfully Carbine have been on the ball and have taken action to try to improve the situation for all players, with the addition of some extra hardware and more servers to spread the load, while they try to fix the back-end problems with their Megaserver technology.

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I’ve used the time on the new PVE EU server, Jabbit-2, to have a proper run at the game now, as well as to poke around the in-game cash shop a bit more.

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Winning with Anomaly: Warzone Earth

11 Bit Studios‘ action-strategy game Anomaly: Warzone Earth came to me via Day 5 of Splitkick.com’s Holiday Giveaway competitions!

This is a reverse tower defense set in a future Earth where aliens have crash-landed, leaving large energy domes, or Anomalies, in several major cities.  You play as the Commander, leading a platoon of armoured units into the Anomaly to explore, and then re-take the city.

The first level has you enter the anomaly, and serves as the tutorial.. setting a path for the platoon, adjusting this to avoid falling asteroids, and repairing units which took damage..

Adjustments to the path are made in the tactical view, which freezes the action while you plan your new route.. avoid obstacles, or take a second pass of a not-quite-dead tower.  I found a lot of items were dropped after killing a tower, so I aimed for them on most missions 🙂

The commander can place smoke screen and decoys, and repair your armoured units.  I found him surprisingly strong.. able to take some fire from the towers, but regenerating very quickly once out of fire again.  He went down only once, while I was planting a decoy in the middle of a large group of towers.. and even this was only a three second knockdown before he was back on his feet!

Each unit has their own strengths and weaknesses.. tanks are well armoured but less offensive than crawlers, and shield-generators are unable to fire at all.  Setup of the platoon is mostly down to the player, although some units are added as part of the story, such as the shield generator drone and tank.  As you earn money during a mission, you can upgrade units or add more to your platoon too.

This means you can play as you want.. I mostly went with an APV or tank, shield-generator and crawler and upgraded them rather than add to the platoon.

Splitkick.com’s Holiday Giveaway also provided me with a Riot Nassus skin for League of Legends.. another game I want to revisit 🙂

I love tower defense, but I loved destroying towers for a change 🙂

Left 4 Dead 2 – Cold Stream

Cold Stream is a new campaign created by modder Matthew Lourdelet, who previously created the 2 Evil Eyes campaign.

Having received some well-deserved support from Valve, this became available for players to beta test last night.

I got round to playing it this morning.  We first spawned in the stream itself..  I thought this was a very pretty location with the rushing water and trees..

We decided this first part of the map could maybe have done with a few more pointers on direction, as once you’ve headed into the trees it’s fairly easy to lose your sense of direction..

We also wandered in and out of a small building before realising we were supposed to jump out of the first floor window to carry on.. maybe if this window had been broken it would have given us a clue, but as it was it looked like a recipe for fall damage.  Minor points, though.. and they didn’t hold us up for long 🙂

In the second map, we emerged in a tunnel full of rushing water.  A minor complaint here was the lack of sound for the water.. noticeable in the tunnel where you’d expect to really hear it.  I think it was around here that we started talking about how cool it would be if the water were to push you along, as it certainly looked fast-flowing..

I think the foggy lighting here would be great cover when playing as the Infected.. 🙂

Towards the end of this level we were nearly wiped out by a sneak-attacking tank, who incapacitated most of the team with a massive rock which came crashing down onto the group.  We hadn’t even picked up the bots by the time he got to us, and after I threw the bile on him, he sent me flying past the still-incapped Ellis..

The bile brought enough zombies to kill him off, and we carried on through a building and back into a tunnel full of water.

This time, there was a push behind the water!  Straight ahead there appeared to be a drop to the death, but we headed right and down a set of stairs with more water flowing down them.  I was rather pleased with this bit 😉

On the third level we were surprised with an explosion, sending cars and trucks flying and leaving a large hole on the bridge we were crossing!

I liked how this changed the map right before us, but wonder how this feels in Versus mode.. whether the infected get trapped here, or whether it allows insta-kills over the edge.  I need more friends who still want to play this game 😉

We had noticed a witch crying, and before the explosion I had been looking for her, hoping to beat The Undoer to the kill 😉

She turned out to be standing on a surface below the bridge, with no way up.  I noticed that this bug has been mentioned on the Steam forum dedicated to Cold Stream, along with the bug we got at the beginning of the Finale level..

That’s me, spawned on the outside of the safe room.. oops.

Using the radio in the safe room starts a cutscene with what we assumed was a rescue helicopter that crashes down into the trees.. all which needs some kind of voice acting as it just feels a bit strange.  After this, we were free to run out to look for the helicopter, or an alternative rescue..

A little further along, I thought the game had crashed when everything seemed to stick.. then we realised it was just a slow-motion effect.  At the time this seemed rather impressive, but I’m now thinking it should maybe have been left out.  In games like Homefront and Call of Duty, slow-motion is used to allow you to respond quickly to a threat.. here, it just seems to be used to add to the explosion, and after the second play-through I think this would be more of an annoying delay than something to be impressed by.

For the rescue, again, hindsight comes in..

Presumably attracted by the fire and smoke from the wreckage of the first helicopter, a second helicopter was waiting to rescue us.  I think this should have been the other way round, with us having to wait and hold out against a horde.. this would have been more challenging.  Instead, we almost discovered the ladder by chance, and with the common infected piling on Ellis and Rochelle, we were free to run up the ladder to safety.

Having run through this campaign though, I realised quite how much I miss playing the game.. the adrenaline rush, the need for really close co-operation.. the awesome feeling when you and your friends survive despite the AI director being harsh.. 🙁