Big news of the past couple of days is the arrival of Civilization 5 at last. I'll come on to that in a bit.
First of all I just want to point you in the direction of Adurj le Bard's discussion on the different ways to play mainstream MMOs, with a focus on the various types of roleplaying. He makes some interesting points about the different levels of roleplaying that can be found, and as I've been a member of various types of roleplay guilds over the years I'm going to be offering my thoughts on the subject in a future post.
I've also been listening to the soundtrack to The Social Network (a new film by David Fincher about the formation of Facebook which has been getting rave reviews). The soundtrack is by Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails) and Atticus Ross (NIN producer and fellow member of How to Destroy Angels) and is well worth a listen. It's pretty intense and dark and makes me wonder what on earth the film will be like. You can grab a free five track mini version of the full album here if you are interested.
Right, on to the main news. Civilization 5 has arrived.
It is as addictive as ever, maintaining that "one more go" feel that made the previous games so hard to put down. In fact I'm writing this whilst waiting for my wife to finish her turn in our multiplayer lan game. The first time we played when I looked up at the clock it was 1.30am. I had thought it was around 11pm, but the time had flown by.
The game improves on Civ 4 in a lot of ways, many of which are quite subtle. The most obvious are the move from square tiles to hexes and the removal of unit stacking (only one combat unit per tile now). This has the effect of making the combat much more strategic and the relevant strength of a unit means a lot more (no more defeating tanks with a huge stack of axemen!). I also like the new social policy system a lot, despite the removal of religion from the game. I also think the cloud saving available through Steam is great - it means I can start a game on my desktop and continue it on my laptop.
There are a few niggles with the game. Hot seat and play-by-email games are not currently available (though they will be patched in shortly). Combat animations are missing from multiplayer games (though the devs have said they are looking at putting them in as an option), and you cannot manually save multiplayer games (again the devs are looking at this, and in the meantime it's easy to set autosaves to save every turn). Some players have reported technical issues, but I haven't come across any.
The AI seems good but throws up the occasional odd event. I had around 20 workers on auto-improve and had recently colonised another continent. A few turns later my workers all seem to have disappeared, but I found them all travelling across the ocean en-masse to the new lands (it looked quite amusing, all these tiny boats heading out into the great unknown!). This was down to the new way ocean travel for units is handled in Civ 5 (any unit can travel in the ocean once you have the right technologies developed).
Anyway, Civ 5 is a complete success in my eyes and I look forwards to many long nights battling my friends for world domination!
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