Friday Diary: Milking the Elephant

That title sounds like a euphemism, but surprisingly it isn’t. Look it up on Youtube (probably best you don’t actually). Milking elephants was one of the subjects of discussion last night, and since I had a pad of paper handy I made a list of the other things we discussed. I can’t remember the context of half of it, but it makes for interesting reading this morning.

Looks more like Moet than milk to me.

Looks more like Moet than milk to me.

We got off to a fairly early start last night, and after an enjoyable foray on Auraxis last week we decided to delve into Planetside 2 again. I missed some of the conversation at this stage but it seemed to segue from engineering to scatology when comparing scales – Roman reciting the mnemonic for the Mohs Scale, and digressing onto the Bristol Scale. Such was the background chatter for our expedition out into the frigid plains of the continent of Esamir. The Terran Republic seemed to have the upper hand and were pushing us back in two places, while we were giving the New Conglomerate a hard time in the south. Rather than take on a large assault, and because it looked like we were struggling, we went for the smaller battlefield at Apex Genetics.

Humour me while I take a little tangent for a while. I have a belief that enjoyment of Planetside 2 comes from an ability to read the map. Without that skill you will be endlessly wandering around alone in the wilderness, being picked off by vehicles and snipers. It won’t be much fun. If you know where to find the right battles though, you can find the kind of game to suit your mood. Fancy some up-close twitch shooting? Find a facility, a Biolab if possible, with a lot of activity going on. You can almost guarantee that it will be a meatgrinder, and if you take a shotgun or SMG in there you’ll probably find what you want. Fancy some more vehicular tactics? Look for where we’re making ground fast, chances are that we have a zerg making inroads into enemy territory, and that usually attracts lots of vehicles as new territories bring convenient vehicle spawns and a need for mobility. There’s a lot more to it of course, but interpretation of the map is a necessity to playing on your terms.

I appreciate the irony of how unintuitive this probably looks.

I appreciate the irony of how unintuitive this probably looks.

So you can see the map of last night’s battlefield as it stands at the time of writing, not a lot different from how it was 12 hours ago. I’ve highlighted the main areas we fought over, our Warp Gate is to the north, and to the south there was a contingent of Rock Paper Shotgun fighting the NC.

We loaded up into a Galaxy with Fabyak as the pilot, despite his warnings that he has no idea what he’s doing. Only one way to learn, Fab! And he does a pretty good job, taking us to the battle at a good altitude and ominously asking how he ejects everyone from the ship, ‘just out of curiosity.’ It isn’t long before we’re pounced on by enemy fighters, and while our pilot’s manoeuvring was surprisingly good for someone who was only minutes ago asking which button was ‘down’ we didn’t have the firepower to repel them. The eject button was mashed and we were dumped over the approach to the facility as Fab and his Galaxy vanished over a ridge in flames.

Miraculously all survived, Fab included, and we set to our task of reinforcing the besieged facility. By this point my list tells me our discussion had moved on to the elephant milking of the title. Again, I can’t remember what the connection was. I’m not sure I want to. Somewhere on the line we had touched on last year’s winter stomach bug and its effects, including Pnut’s tale of a friend’s vomit filled underpants. Thanks for that.

Before the battle forbidden love flourishes in the Esamir Warp Gate

Before the battle forbidden love flourishes at the Esamir Warp Gate

The attack didn’t go well. The VS were outnumbered and outgunned, and we fell back to Stillwater Watch. Since it’s conveniently close to our Warp Gate those of us who didn’t survive the withdrawal respawned in tanks and moved in to form defences against the ball of TR which was certainly coming once Apex fell. It came quickly, before we were properly in place, but I think it came too quickly. They attacked piecemeal and were chewed up by the line of tanks and Heavies, our aircraft coming from the Warp Gate in force, and were driven back surprisingly quickly.

For the next hour or so the Vanu seemed to have the upper hand. We recaptured Apex Genetics with our tank rush and moved on to take The Rink with minimal resistance too. I assume that the TR forces were briefly distracted elsewhere, most likely pushing Nott Communications to the south of us, and when we took The Rink the they came back in force.

The defence of The Rink was like something out of a war movie. We were being battered from all sides – infantry assaulting from the south, trying to take the cap points, tanks circling round and cutting us off to the north, and swarms of aircraft overhead. True to form, I forgot to take any screenshots of the battle while I was in the midst of it. From my position in the middle of the defence as an anti-air gunner I couldn’t see much apart from the ridge ahead of me erupting in explosions as their tanks pounded our engineers and heavies, our medics rushing around between them seeing to the casualties. This shot above came when we withdrew as the facility was looking lost and tried to attack them from outside the siege.

A flight of Reaper fighters attacking our forces defending The Rink

A flight of Reaper fighters attacking our forces defending The Rink

I like to think that our little squad of 5punkers, set up in a copse of trees surrounded by rocks, distracted enough enemy armour and aircraft with our AA nest to give the VS a little breathing space. Either way though, we lost the facility and were pushed back again to Apex Genetics where another fierce defence was made. I grabbed an anti-air MAX suit this time as the enemy fighters were hovering so close that they would rocket you to death before you could get a lock on them, and with Pnut’s missiles and a couple of other AA types we fended them off.

The see-saw came back, we pushed again and retook The Rink. This time they had been in disarray and we continued on to the bottleneck of Saerro Listening Post. This time it was our attack which petered out though. All of a sudden it was like our own forces had vanished, and we fought our way back to Nott Amp Station where the defence was holding with a sparse amount of troops. The conversation, now free from the intense game talk during the earlier defences, turned to Roman declaring that if he was a boxer he would take viagra before a bout to put his opponent off. And with attention waning from the frustration of hunting enemy infiltrators we decided to have a few games of Dota 2.

Three games were had, all in proper (as opposed to practice) bot games. We got trashed utterly in the first two games, my own performance as Pugna being the worst on the team for the first, and a poor random selection of Templar Assassin – not a favourite of mine – for the second. The third game switched a 5punker for a random though, and we managed to win in a fairly close game. Not that it was the 5punker (I can’t remember who it was, Fab maybe), but we seemed to have a better team setup. A few of us won some of the new crafting recipes.

Ah, crafting. I remember when they released it for Team Fortress 2 and it confused the shit out of me. However many years later it is, it still does. So I’m not particularly impressed with Dota 2‘s offering either. So far I have the option to scrap three items and get a new one. The new one, in all likelihood, will also be some manner of barely noticeable cosmetic upgrade. So I’m not really interested at the moment, and I doubt I’ll take the time to work out the intricacies of it if it’s at all complex. At least I can sell them for 1p on the marketplace.

Leave a Reply