A Few Thoughts About 2006

First of all: Happy MOO Year!

Though in this post I want to look at 2006 once again:

Our two MOO2 blogs, this one and lordbrazen.blogspot.com, finally achieved google page rank 3 in the last months of 2006:

I am hopeful that this achievement will even further increase our traffic in this year. Generally, I was already surprised about the traffic in 2006. I started to track this website in November 2005 with statcounter.com (see the counter in the sidebar) and visualized them with the so called ClustrMaps. In the last the few days I tried to animate these maps with the EasyGif Animator (shareware). Here is the result:

This is my first gif file. I would be very thankful, if anyone can propose a better tool which is able to compress the file without loss of too much quality.
Thanks to all visitors. There is far more traffic than I ever expected.

4X Turn Based Strategy
2006 was also the reincarnation of the Space Based 4X Turn Based Strategy genre. Who expected this after MOO3 was such a disappointment? Galactic Civilizations 2, Sword of the Stars and Space Empires V were released in 2006.

Galactic Civilizations 2 is surely a good game. But most of us MOO2 fans were disappointed that tactical combat was excluded. Additionally, a game without multiplayer is IMO boring after a few months. Besides the last point GalCiv2 is an ideal MOO2 successor for those MOO2 fans who preferred strategical combat (i.e., without ship design and battles). But who actually preferred that option? I guess less than one percent of us. There is some hope that tactical combat and multiplayer will be included in GalCiv3. There is even the possibility of an MP extension for GalCiv2 but I doubt that this will be happen.

More of us MP players were interested in Sword of the Stars (SOTS) since it includes tactical combat and MP. Several players considered themselves already as SOTS fanboys. But the demo was a disappointment. To put it mildly: The UI is at least controversial. These both posts on the quarter of three board lists a lot of good points: #262 and #267.

But the answer of the SOTS Dev Martin Cirulis was rather harsh: #290, actually the worst PR I can imagine. Most forum members were upset by his comment so it was no surprise at all that the host of the Quarter To Three forum, the freelancer Tom Chick, wrote a negative SOTS review.
Was that review biased because of this issue? I remember some guys in our community claimed that Tom Chick was spot on, but Martin Cirulis had his own version.

To sum it up: In the current state the game looks more like a riddle than a strategy game and because of the above mentioned quarrel I am afraid we won't see UI improvements in a forthcoming SOTS2.

Regarding Space Empires V: I have to admit that I have tested the demo just for a short while. Gusset wrote in our community forum that the tactical combat is restricted for singleplayer. AFAIK the Play by Web option is currently the most popular multiplayer mode and tactical combat won't make much sense there. There is also a TCP/IP mode but unfortunately it is still too bugged. But keep in mind that the publishers are well known for their support. I hope that Gusset, who has already tried some MP games, keeps us informed.

The year 2006 gave us three potential substitutes for our beloved MOO2. But my favorite is still MOO2 which has IMO the smartest UI and best balance between strategical and tactical elements. Actually, some reviewers called GalCiv2 the new MOO2 (and it had lots of good reviews). But when you look at the evaluations of the customers, you will see that MOO2 has still an edge. You may have noticed that I added some Amazon links recently (in this post and see also the bottom of the sidebar). Just scroll over them and the average customer review score will appear:

After 10 years MOO2 has still an amazing average of 5/5. GalCiv2 and Space Empires V have good but not overwhelming scores with 3.5/5, just slightly ahead of SOTS (3/5) and please let us forget MOO3.

Blog Upgrade
Additionally, I have upgraded my blog yesterday to the new Blogger (it merged with my google account now). Whatever that means exactly, you will have noticed that the old posts are now labeled. This tagging feature seems quite useful, for example try the labels:

Battle Contest
10 years MOO2
MOO2 formulae

Quite easy now to find posts that are related to a specific topic. I will probably add the labels to the sidebar soon.

Nevertheless, I am also a bit sceptical about this upgrade since there are some autoformats involved. Please inform me when you see any bugs after this upgrade.