WOTBB 56 – Battlecon

Original date of blog: May 10th, 2016

I’ve never been a hardcore gamer. As I explained in my non-blitz blog, the only games I’ve ever properly played are the Metroid Prime games, and the Spyro games up to an extend. There have been the few oddballs out there, like Travian and Patapon, and I’ve tried Hearthstone for a little while before it bored me, but outside of Metroid Prime, I don’t often play on a console. I have a ps2 that lets me play the Spyro games I like, and I prefer the gamecube version of Metroid Prime over the wii-version. My psp has been used mostly to play gameboy games on, but even moreso to read manga on when I was on holiday.

So when the Community Staff told me they’d be In Rotterdam for Battlecon this weekend and asked me whether or not I wanted to attend, I did the only thing I could – I googled. I had no idea what Battlecon was, or what it entailed. The only con I’ve ever gone to was an anime-con in Derby (UK) which functioned as a meeting place for people I knew through a site at the time. And that turned out to be very boring, though the people I had met up with were fun.

Battlecon turned out to be a gaming convention. But not just a gaming convention – a multiplayer gaming convention. When I looked at the games that’d be there, it was quite clear to me that the only game that I’d have played if I went, would be Blitz – and that was assuming they’d have tablets set up. But all the same, I was happy to go. Wargaming would get me a ticket for it, and Ectar would be there, and even if just for that, it’d be great to meet someone from the community staff in person. And a hall full of gamers playing multiplayer games? My kind of people. Probably.

So, Saturday, May 7th, and hating rushing in the morning I got out of bed at 8am (ungodly time for me to be up on a Saturday, what had I gotten myself into?), and got ready. I left the house an hour and a half later. My bus driver had decided his speed could not go beyond that of a T95, so he arrived at Central Station 4 minutes late – the exact time my train would depart. So I missed the connection and had to wait half an hour for the next one.

Now, I had treated myself to a first class ticket (yay for ticket sales that’d make that a lot cheaper for me, otherwise it’d cost me 1.5 Type 59’s to get from Nijmegen to Rotterdam and back again. Now it only cost me half a Type 59 instead), since Utrecht (central point in the country for a lot of connections) was mostly down for the count, meaning that the connections I’d be using would likely be very crowded. I was very right about that, so very happy to be able to actually have a seat in first class. All in all, with the missed train connection, I arrived at Rotterdam Ahoy little over 3 hours since I left home.

MrConway (going with nicks as I’m not entirely sure they’d appreciate me using their real names) had told me that there’d be a ticket for me at the register. The guy at the register was in the process of reading a terribly interesting book, judging by the frown he wore, and the way he very slowly chewed his food as if he forgot he had taken a bite to begin with. He didn’t know anything about any of them tickets being left for anyone, and said I should go ask at the security/ticket point. So I went there instead.

The security/ticket point people didn’t know anything about any of them tickets being left for anyone either, so took me straight to Wargaming’s own stand. The guy there didn’t know anything about any of them tickets being left for anyone either, but someone else should know about that and if I told him my name, he’d see. He then of course asked if there was a short version of my name, before he went to find that person. At this point, Ectar appeared and he got me a Battlecon-crew-bracelet-thing, which was enough for the security guy, who went back to the ticket-point, after making sure I had indeed put the thing on. This was, of course, by far cooler a normal ticket.

I talked with Ectar for quite a bit and it was fun. In my mind he’s always been more or less a ninja – he appears briefly on the forum, or in the contributor chat, before he vanishes again. All in all I think before Battlecon we’ve exchanged maybe two sentences. This is quite logical, when you realise he organises the Wargaming part of cons like this, so is mostly busy at the other end of the community, so to speak. But that made it really nice to actually put a face and personality to the name. He was way more talkative than any ninja ever would be, so I have to rethink that image.

I’m not going to go into what we talked about exactly, but we were like-minded on several subjects. It felt like I was talking to an actual person and not some representative from some company, which is a major difference to me. He was very open and outspoken and friendly. I really liked that. So even if just for that, I’m glad I went.

When he was called away about something, another member of the Wargaming staff invited me into the stand to do some gaming. The stand itself was quite cool. There was a truck set up which held places along the side where people could play the pc version of World of Tanks or World of Warships, or the xbox version of World of Tanks, under a canvas of sorts which made it look like a military base of operation. Under an open army tent there were about 8 places where you could play the game on the ps4. And they had this little map thing, with a little ramp at some point, where you could drive very adorable miniature tanks.

I sat myself down behind one of the ps4 consoles. Luckily, they had a sheet there with it that explained which buttons did what. They were in Dutch, which, Ectar had said, was both good and bad, because the Dutch people would understand it, but if he got a question about it, he’d have no clue and had to get one of the Dutch guys instead. So, I started with the tank listed on the screen that I knew – the Ru.

And died almost instantly. I was happy enough that I figured out how to turn my tank, but firing and such wasn’t easy. So after gloriously dying in the first two minutes of the game (I’m -that- pro), I went and equipped the E5 instead and tried that. With similar results, but I did spot 6 enemy tanks and did some damage before dying this time around.

By the third battle, I realised where I was going wrong. I was attempting to sprint when I didn’t even know how to walk yet. So, I went to my favourite tier in Blitz – tier I. I equipped the Loltractor and took it out for a spin. This worked a lot better and I got a first class on the first go. This, I liked. Same with the ms1. Then I aced the Loltractor, and then aced the ms1 too. Fun times, cracked me up like no tomorrow.

After this, I went back to tier X and got the Maus ready for combat, as that tank would be more noob friendly in this version of the game than the E5 would be. And that was true. Did 3.5k damage and bounced 3k worth of damage. Still died though.

Overall though, the ps4 game is different. Basic things still apply, but the buttons work very differently, and it takes some getting used to. It kind of makes me wish I had a ps4 so I could continue learning the game at home. The maps are so much bigger and the graphics are amazing. Very different maps too, which I liked a lot. It definitely makes things more interesting than they are in Blitz.

At one point, I was driving the object 140, and was hugging the side of a cliff, peeking around it to shoot the enemy. At the top of the cliff came an E50M, who was shooting my team behind me. There was no possible way for me to hit him, and no possible way for him to hit me, unless he’d fall off the cliff. It was brilliant and fun. That kind of situation can only happen on Mines in Blitz, and most often, they just come off the cliff to fall on top of you then. But the maps on the console version allowed much more of actions like these, and you could play with positions a lot more.

That’s the kind of thing I’d love to see in Blitz. It’d definitely make the game more interesting again.

But, I’m drifting off. So when I had been playing on the ps4 for a good hour (with Ectar at one point asking me if I was addicted now), I felt it was time for me to leave the stand behind and look at the other games. Not before taking a picture with Ectar though, which, of course, couldn’t happen without us dressing ourselves with the items of the photobooth. I became a ussr something I believe, while he went for the sailor uniform. It was funny. And I got a goodybag with a t-shirt and a cap! =D

After that, I roamed the other stands, watched some Mario Kart and other games I don’t even recall the names of, and played some Smash Brothers (because Samus Aran (Metroid)). I died horribly of course, but still! Also roamed the stands with stuff – Deadpool t-shirts! And almost fell for a Decepticon mug, but I’ve seen mugs online that sort of transform with hot liquid online and this paled in comparison (you’re either a good tf-nerd, or you’re not).

About an hour and a half later, I left Battlecon, and started my two and a half hours journey back home with four mementos – the crew-member bracelet, the t-shirt, the cap, and the picture. And the bag, so five mementos really… Overall it was a lot of fun, and it was great meeting one of the community staff and making it personal, so to speak. Meeting up always makes things more real, and it puts personality and voice and face to online-text. I had a great time =)

P.s. we need Scottish flags in the game. I can’t understand how we’ve managed without them, and why Wargaming hasn’t given them to us ages ago. Never mind that we don’t have any flags in Blitz. We need Scottish flags.

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