Daily Elysium: War to End All Wars

Monday has come again, and thereÂ's cheering in the streets; a fresh opportunity to get away from needless weekend frivolity and seek out the life shaping drudgery of a structured work environment. If this isnÂ't glorious bliss then nothing is. Some of you unfortunate Americans readers might be struggling with a three-day weekend, your life stymied by an additional 24 hours of free time and one less joyful day to your beloved work week. Fear not valiant laborer, these holidays will be few and far between in the coming months, and you can look forward to a steady stream of brain bending mundanity under the soothing glow of buzzing flourescents through winterÂ's glorious months. Joy!

LetÂ's talk more about games for a moment, shall we?

This weekend found me finally taking the plunge and delving into X-Box Live. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons I was unable to either plunge or delve into actually playing online. My primary problem has been a somewhat awkward networking layout, and an additionally problematic ISP who apparently hordes IPs as if they had collectible value and could be sold on Ebay. Eventually it occurred to me that perhaps my ISP would grant me connectivity if I fooled them into thinking that my Xbox was my PC by changing its MAC address. And when I say it occurred to me, I only mean that I hunted down a solution on Google, tried it, and once successful, claimed myself a networking guru for having foiled my ISPs evil scheme. I think of it as a bold strike for the proletariat!

However, while shopping for my Xbox Live, I finally picked up a PC game IÂ'd been meaning to investigate for several weeks. Having played - played is the wrong word, perhaps I mean having been humiliated by - Europa Universalis, I was intrigued by ParadoxÂ's latest, Hearts of Iron. Hearts is set in the heady, tranquil years of the 1930s and 40s, and puts the player into the seat of almost any power across the globe. While the game certainly levies the bulk of its focus on the valiant English, the militaristic Germans, the beleaguered French, the surprisingly cold and slightly liquored Soviet Union, or the isolationist Â"˜world? what world?Â' Americans, you can choose to lead nearly any force through the formative WWII years. Always had an aching to reshape the brave course of SwedenÂ's history? Fine! Always wanted Brazil to be the country to step up and squash the Afrika Korps? Good luck with that!

Of course, being a world leader is not a particularly easy task. It is, however, easier than figuring out how the hell to play Hearts of Iron. IÂ'm pretty sure that the game requires a masters degree in Hearts-of-Ironology, and canÂ't be played to its fullest depth without rigorous study, a battery of brain enhancing implants, and a special hot line to Paradox entertainment. ItÂ's easy to say Hearts of Iron is a complex strategy game that comes close to simulating the intricacies of steering a world power through a war ravaged time. ItÂ's more correct to say that Hearts of Iron is an intimidating monster that creeps off your hard drive while you sleep and sucks your brain out with a straw.

HereÂ's how a typical game begins for me. I start the program, initiate a new scenario, enter the world of 1936, and then scroll around the screen for several minutes trying to figure out what in GodÂ's name IÂ'm supposed to be doing. Eventually I queue up some technology for my scientists to research, whoÂ've been standing in the corner smoking and drumming their fingers while I dolt about, randomly selecting from the massive technology tree projects like Â"˜reinforced, non-jamming, warmed rifle triggersÂ', Â"˜improved tank-hatch bolt lubricationÂ', and Â"˜prototype torpedo door slide casingsÂ'. Of course, changing my economy so dramatically as to set four or five red-faced, heavily smoking scientists to work in underground labs, has a ripple effect much like dropping a house in a shallow pond. Suddenly I had to reshape the distribution of food, regroup convoys sailing from darkest Africa, and send the 14th rregiment marching mysteriously into the sea just to compensate. At this point I usually save me "progress", read the manual for about an hour to find out all the things I did wrong, and then perhaps cry.

IÂ'm not actually finding fault with Hearts of Iron here. It seems to me that for measured geniuses and the occasional savant, this game would be a phenomenal but rewarding challenge. I just think it should be made clear that Hearts of Iron is not a game you can sit mindlessly down with for fifteen or twenty minutes and annex, say, Belgium without much thought.

Enough about Hearts of Iron. IÂ've got some news hunting to do, and I wanted to finish working up a Panzer Dragoon impressions for posting, though with the holiday I wouldn't expect much big news today.  Maybe later, IÂ'll try and discover the deep world shaking effects of increasing the infrastructure of Southampton. It could change the tide of the war!

- Elysium


<blockquote>And when I say it occurred to me, I only mean that I hunted down a solution on Google, tried it, and once successful, claimed myself a networking guru for having foiled my ISPs evil scheme.</blockquote>

LOL, that had me actually laughing out loud!

I'm sure we would've offered up that solution in the forums as well 


HTML tags ain't working. Certis, stop blaming PHP and FIX IT!

Yes, like cuebert suggested, most of your elite readers knew that trick, but I'll concede that the Google solution might be a little faster.

Elysium, I suspect you're very smart, because even Google's translation service has a hard time with some of the words you use in those articles of yours, but then again, I always learn a few new ones and I sometimes even fool myself into thinking that I "get it" all. So keep em coming I say!

I agree that I am a smart guy.  However, be aware, that the reason translation software has a difficult time with my work is because I will happily recreate the English language where I don't feel it has served me well.  For example, if I can't think of a decent synonym for the word 'commodious', then I will simply make a word up, like 'toilet-bowlious' or 'bratwurst', and insert as needed.  I think readers really respond to that kind of creativity.

- Elysium

It really adds a personal touch to articles. As a reader, I almost expect Elysiumisms's in the articles I read by him, for if the lack those personal touches, I just can't trust what I'm reading.

w3rd up!


oh where oh where has elysium gone?  oh where oh where can he be?

oh iiiiii get it noooow.  trading me in for xbox live and hearts of iron.  hmmm....

well then let me diminish the chances of you returning to AC2 even more by letting you know i have attained the rank of 29 and emabulator has reached 30.  we are leaving you in the dust my friend.  we are not looking back!

you have yet to have heard something as lovely as a jam session with the instruments: voice of the ancients, horn sections, guitars, ice lutes and flutes.

you have yet to try the chaotic frenzy that is the moarsman quest.  you have missed out on a Ava Tarati led moarsman quest and expedition.

the lore regarding the run for our lives from ulu, essa and aste sclavi preceptors all missed your ears.

all the babies have grown up into their twenties.  some have even completed rashan's quest sans any assistance.  they know the ways of the broken totem.  they strive to delve into the ghost mines to face the "rememberance lost".  they itch to complete the kydi, ariaki and lumari vaults so that they may be the wiser towards the troubles of the land. 

blood shreths lay in pools of their own crimson.  the mighty burun are led into dizzying circles and cut down from behind.  the drudge are resoundingly crushed; sliced by burning blades.  who will fall next?  dillos on linvak?  only the strong and brave will discover!

What an excellent article

It actually made me look forward to buying Hearts of Iron. I've always wanted to try a hardcore sim.