Hey, this is Logan/MAAAD/InsertFakeNickHere reporting from the madness city.The weather is calm, 31º degrees, beach parties,fake water-Guinness pint and this is the first real interview of loads incoming!!!!
He is one of the better ex-ns players(IMHO) and we have spoken with him about what he expects for NS2,NS1 story and moar.
First of all, How is the person behind the nick? How old are you, What are you doing?, tell us a little about your life outside the network.
My name is Alexander Bolstad and I'm from Sweden. I'm turning 22 this fall and currently work as an IT-technician.
Tell us about your story in the competitive NS. Getting Started tell us which were your major achievements and competitions in which you participate, the clans where you was, ect.
To make a long story short, I started in the 1.0x clan RaW but later got picked up by the Swedish clan Natural Resistance (NatuRe) with players like wltrs, stalk & starfox. NatuRe was fighting for the title as Sweden’s best NS clan and actually managed to hold the CB NS 1.04 Ladder #1 spot for a while. NatuRe got three player spots in the legendary 1.04 Team Europe that beat USA; it was stalk, wltrs and me as a reserve. No one expected Europe to win, Flayra was commenting over shoutcast and you heard just how surprised he was, live and direct.
In 2.0 NatuRe started to suffer from inactivity and wltrs left so I decided to join up with torment, the top dog at that time. Torment won every league that was completed in the end of 2003 but then started to become inactive. I left torment, thinking I was sick of NS only to find out I was tired of not getting to play because of no other clan wanted to prac or teammates that focused on other games. When I was playing public at most, cheeZ and ktdm picked me up. There was a lot of potential in that clan but it eventually ended up as cu@cpl and then folded. After that I felt like I had gone through the "bad" torment experience x2, so I decided to join the clan that felt most fun and relaxed, BaconMen.
The current version was now 3.0 betas. Even though we had powerhouse players such as stalk, web and wltrs we never really took it serious enough in practicing to win the leagues. But it didn't matter, the games that I played in BM was more of casual fun than the games I had previously played with torment or ktdm. After a while BM tried Battlefield 2, but we didn't like it that much. Then onosendai persuaded some of us to try QuakeWorld and we did. It was my second gaming crush that yet hasn’t faded, I left NS for good. There's something with the freedom in QuakeWorld.
My NS achievements listed (It's probably not as long as others, I quit when I was young!):
Some mediocre BaconMen achievements
Chosen for Team Europe II, alien & marine
Chosen for Team Sweden NS 3.0 betas
InNox Cup Spring 2004 #1 with KTDM
Chosen for Team Sweden captain NS 2.01, placed 2nd
Clanbase Open Cup Fall 2003 #1 with Torment
ESL Europe NS Cup 2003 #1 with Torment
Chosen for Team Europe, alien reserve
Chosen for Team Sweden NS v1.04, Nations Cup was never played
Clanbase NS Ladder Spring 2003 #1 with Natural Resistance
How do you feel the community has evolved in your country and European competitiveness from your beginnings to these days?
Talking about Sweden, there hasn’t been a better player than wltrs since I quit. There haven't been a better leader & allround-monster than b1 so I would say it's basically stuck or in rewind mode.
In Europe, it's hard to tell because I don't play actively anymore. But I do know Ninelegends managed to go in and win a season not so long ago, so for those old bastards to get back in shape and just take it home it can't be that hot.
Talk a little bit about the versions. What's your opinion about the different versions and what do you think about each one?
1.0x: Horrible balance, bunny hopping marines won all the time. It was filled with bugs like you had to crouch as a skulk to be able to bite a marine in a vent. This is also the version that made me start play NS so I have a love/hate-relationship to it.
2.0x: The skulk got "heavier", flying fades, lerks without bite was introduced. Commanders with hotkeys for buildings & groups (leet). New resource system that made alien team play a reality for the first time. Were alien biased most of the versions.
3.0: Loved the later betas, especially 3.0b5. The final version was actually the first "real" NS in my opinion. If the game would have been that well when I started playing I guess I would still play it to date. I still believe they managed to fuck up the skulk (and fade!) with the "no crouch"-version and no sticking to walls while jumping stuff, at least my skulk got less movement capabilities!
Do you think the difficulty curve ns has been too high for the players called "casual"?
Yes, there are too many elements to consider directly when joining a classic NS server as a noob. One thing that doesn't help much is that the ns community is very immature and elitistic and loves to call someone a nub every chance they get. Combat was supposed to make people get to know more elements of NS before trying out classic mode, but look what happens if you join a combat server nowadays, it's filled with crap plugins and extra levels, I don't believe combat is the best way to promote the "real" NS playmode.
Expectations for the NS2
What are your expectations for NS2? What are as game´s player?
The stuff they are doing with their own engine is impressive. It's nice out of a competive viewpoint that it won't need a new cutting edge machine to play. I just hope they can get the same feeling in movement as the Half-Life 1 engine. We also need some seriously good netcode. I'm all about the competitive, hope it's not going to be another "public" game like some other games that have been released the last years.
Do you know enough of ns2? What do you think about the new game? (Especially the symmetrical style (2 Commanders, unification of resources, mobile siege)
It's actually very hard to know how it's going to pan out until you actually play it. I'm open for every change if the game just turns out to be kickass. NS1 defiantly has its flaws so I don't think its wrong by doing stuff different.
What is your opinion about the changes aimed at reducing the learning curve (elimination of bhop, purchase weapons system, etc) and do you think that will help the community to grow in number of players, sponsors, etc. or by Instead much of the hardcore gamers think of ns1 that has lost the essence?
It can turn both ways. I'm all for bunnyhop and other type of skilled movement, that's what I live for in online games. I believe you should be able to have your unique playing style without restrictions of the game movements. Rather than removing bunnyhop, I would rather see it being easier to do it like in the Quake series, just hold the jump-button until you're close to the ground to start the next jump!
Some things like handling weapons and such you shouldn't overcomplicate, so it's hard to say until you try it if it's going to be for you or not.
Will you buy NS or you've already purchased?
I'm a proud constellation member of NS1 since 1.04 and I would love to preorder NS2 if they only could publish more information than "beta probably this winter" and release dates such as "when it's done". We are not dealing with ID Software here, but I can see why they would need the cash in advance when being an independent studio.
Many features of the hl2 source as HLTV are not available for NS2 at begin. What type of tools based on the competitive game would you like to be available and you've seen in other games?
Seriously! We need something like HLTV or QuakeTV of course, without being able to broadcast the games the competive edge will be lost at first. That was one of the worst things with NS 1.0x and also early versions of Battlefield 2. You also need a proper ready up system in NS so you can see exactly who in a team that's not there. Maybe it will even shorten down the time to discuss tactics in the start of the game
What was or were your / s lifeform / s ns1? What do you expect of them for ns2?
My main lifeforms were skulk & fade. I expect the skulk to be as good, if not better in the freedom of movement. All changes for the better concerning the fade are good. What it really boils down to is well balanced lifeforms which only will give you the edge if you can control them the right way. Since NS is a melee vs. range game (which is unique and cool) being able to control the melee lifeforms skillfully is very important.
What changes do you think should be done in order to ns2 in organization of leagues, tournaments, etc.?
Don't start tons of your own small community sites. Unite and form bigger leagues and coverage sites with bigger crews that can do a better work together. What NS lacked in the start was both a good European community site and a good league. Sure, we had Clanbase Ladder but that was seriously not well thought out and a really boring format. Keep up the good work with ENSL and keep improving it and it will turn out well.
Do you think that ENSL will be a good reference for the future ns2 competitive scene?
Of course, I would have loved to play in ENSL if I haven't quit that soon. Your work is important, probably the only reason why European competitive play still is alive.
Would you consider beneficial to the game had great success with all that implies (leagues, sponsors, etc) albeit at the cost of making the game more accessible to casual players?
Any exposure is good. If the game still is a hardcore skilled game you will easy see who the better player is, I don't see the problem with a bigger playerbase with some casual players.
What are your concerns about the new UWE engine created by ns2?
It's hard to say in advance, I hope it's not going to hurt the game experience itself, it should more or less just make it easier for the developers to get what they want. But I think modification will be less popular when there isn't a known "big" engine where people know most of the tools by heart already.
Do you consider the ns2 being a new network engine will resolve the typical problems of regging or on the contrary nothing will change?
You can have different approaches to net code. For example the quakeworld netcode doesn't work well with a too high ping but is very exact and gives a great gaming experience when you have a low ping. I would love to see that kind of net code over the "high ping"-netcode that can cause the regging problems you speak of. You can easily fix the ping issues by making inbuilt proxy servers in the game servers for players to jump through when they join another server so you can reroute and get better ping. That's a concept that works really well in QW.
Do you have a computer ready for ns2 or intend to buy?
Yes, my computer is ready for NS2 and I don't think the hardware will be a big issue for the majority of people at the point when the game is released.
What is your opinion about "downgrading"? (The tendency to play with minimal graphics to get as many fps and performance)
It's great. People should be able to customize whatever they want with ingame client settings. Remove weapons (like r_drawviewmodel), minimize huds, change fovs etc. It's not the game customization that makes the player good, just look at quake. Make it easy to import and export configs and it's a done deal then even someone without the slightest clue of customization easily could use a top player’s setup.
You can compare it with the Knife/Ninelegend-gaming packs that have been released to the community earlier.
Bunny hop or not bunny hop?
Bunny hop! Without a doubt.
Finally, tell us everything you want to say and we haven´t asked. Thank you for completing this interview and collaborate with the interview section of the ENSL.
Thanks yourself, you’re all doing great work with ENSL. Hello to Pizza, all oldskool BaconMens, NatuRe, torment and KTDM members.