Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Dead! - Age of Empires 2: Joan Quixote

If there is one thing I've learned on my journey through the 'A's it's that I'm really bad at computer games. I've put in well over my 10,000 hours, I work for a computer games company and I play literally every day. Literally. Every. Day.
An hour every lunchtime, and probably two hours every evening except on rare occasions when I leave the house to play Ultimate.
This began to become apparent when I started playing with Ben and Neil online, but I always had the fact that those other players - the ones who were spanking me all over the battlefield or topping the scoreboard on my team - were obviously LOSERS WHO HAD NO LIVES, unlike me, with my twice yearly gig attendance to distract me. But this project has removed that excuse...
So with that in mind here's the tale of Joan of Arc's final days.

The bureaucrats have been bickering with the Dauphin for weeks, and the war is losing momentum. Joan is restless and filled with fervour, and takes a handful of troops and villagers off to purge the Loire Valley of Britons.
Here are my objectives:
There is an objective missing here...

Destroy at least 3 British Castles
Joan must survive

I look at my army - a scout, a few knights, a few crossbowmen, Joan and a beefy swordsman called Le Hire. He wants to kill people, Britons to be precise. I am down with that. We also have four villagers.

Four villagers.

I look at the four villagers and this is what I think:

"Oh they'll be handy when I find a village and capture it"

I set off across the Loire in some handy boats and send my scout off exploring. I find some Britons and Burgundians and kill them. I kill some defenceless villagers. I kill some guard towers. Things are looking good. I am a guerrilla filled with righteous fervour striking deep into enemy territory and harrying the enemy. They will have no rest. The fear of me will send troops deserting. I am become death, destroyer of lumber yards. Soon I will find that village and then I'll be able to start building a proper army.

I find an enemy encampment and start to cut my way through it with my men. Joan has taken no damage, and Le Hire is very handy indeed.
We move in on the Town Centre.
All of my knights bar one and all of my villagers are killed and my scout is dead. Le Hire has been grievously wounded (this means he is dead). Joan, one knight and seven crossbowmen cheese it off into the woods. I would describe it as melting into the forest like the Viet Cong, or Che Guevara, but I just legged it.
Also a sheep follows me which I captured from the village. That will come in handy when I find my town.

And then it hits me. I was supposed to build a town wasn't I? Not find one. Villagers can build towns. I walked past loads of nice places where I could have built one. That's why they gave me four villagers.
If I'd have been given four SCV's I would immediately have built a command center. Why the hell didn't I build a town? What am I doing?

I roam the map desperately. There're no towns just enemies! In a rage I kill everyone I come across. Some jumped up Burgundian tries to steal my sheep! He dies. Watch towers die, villagers die, anything but my actual objectives. Some catapults kill all my crossbowmen in one hit. I'm an impotent wreck sloshing from pointless fracas to pointless fracas in the knowledge that I'm soon going to have to try and kill three British castles with one knight, one Joan of Arc and one sheep. Joan must survive the goals said.


My hand is forced and I charge the doors of the first British base I find. I kill almost all the people they send out until it's just Joan and a sheep and I just KNOW that that cowardly, woolen, vegetarian, pacifist, turncoat bastard will abandon the cause at the first chance it gets.
CHAAARGE! 'baaaaaaaa'

Joan is hacking madly at the gates now and after five minutes they're nearly at 95% health. This is ridiculous. I have a crack of health Briton you idiots just send out a longbowman!
In the end they do and that's it. Joan has died pointless hacking at invincible buildings in a futile rage at her (my) tactical failure.

On my way back out through the menus I notice the difficulty setting for the first time ever.

It is set to Easy.


Wood - Enough to build a town
Gold - Loads but more if I'd have built a town
Food - Enough to build loads of units if only I had a town
Stone - Look just leave me alone
Impotent Rage - 10/10


  1. Sad times Thom.

    Not the losing, that was a given. The realisation that actually, despite the countless hours you've spent playing games, you suck.

    Better luck next time!


    1. Admitting it is the first step towards not caring anymore xD