New balls please!

Empire of Sports

After my humiliating entrance into football in Empire of Sports I thought it was probably best to try and redeem myself. With the UK having a fine tradition of producing Tennis stars, such as Andy Murray and Tim Hen… naturally I thought it was time for me to take my place. Wimbledon is just around the corner, and with the French Open currently happening in both real world and within the game itself I thought it was the perfect time to don the white shorts and fill my nostrils’ with the pungent aroma that only fresh tennis balls carry.

If you read my previous instalment you would have noticed I mentioned the ability to train, and having spent some time in the gym I was quite pleased to find out my biceps had now hit an awesome level six!

The training modes themselves were quite interesting, I started off by thinking that perhaps it’s just something as simple as walking up to an NPC, handing over some loose change and let them magically enhance my sporting physique. Of course I was totally off the mark, and thankfully it was a good thing too.

With my arms needing a work out the boxing machine looked like the best option, so stepping up to a vacant one a simple click of the mouse and I was under way.

“Level one, with one rep” to start I thought, the thought of my humiliating display in the football still fresh in my mind, and besides, if anyone asks I’ll waffle around it, put on my best Ivan Drago impression and announce “Level ten” in the most manly way possible.

The training was along the lines of that old PC game “typing of the dead” but instead of a wave of zombies coming at my screen, each word I correctly typed would instruct the fine specimen of a sporting star currently stood there to carry out an action – in this case, punch the leather ball a few times. It was a simple concept, the more you type correctly, the more you’ll do and the result being the more points you’ll get in that particular muscle group. I did get a bit too cocky at one point and try Level ten, thankfully I can type a bit better than I can dribble a ball. Never the less I was now ready to take on the world at Tennis.

Typing iron

I’d already done the Tennis tutorials so was familiar with the concept of how to play (W, A, S, D to move around the court / various mouse clicks perform different shots), but what I really wanted was to go up against another player, not just to test my own ability but also to see how the game handles the multiplayer aspect of things.

Taking a look at the tennis console I found a match quite quickly and was staring at the grass court a few moments later. Lucky for me I had found a player around my own level, so there was not going to be too many balance issues to worry about.

The game started quite well with me winning my own service game, my enem…opponent winning hers. Then something truly awesome happened, on a break of serve I managed to find the courage within me to go for a totally outrageous lob shot that seemed to land with pin point accuracy… I had broken serve… won the game and the match… victory was mine!

It was only one match, but a victory grows confidence and I was full of it, although that probably had something to do with watching my tennis level soar to new heights… yes I’m now a level 8 tennis superstar.

Strawberry's and cream at the ready!

I was quite impressed with the way the game handled; in particular when, in true internet form, my ISP decided at that particular point, just before I take a shot it would send a lovely jolt of lag down my phone line and sent me back to the dark ages of 56k for a good five seconds.

I’d given up any hope of somehow making the shot, but rather ingeniously the game picked up that there was some networking troubles and restarted the point again, it was a simple thing at the time but looking back at it and more so I suspect in high profile in-game tournaments, lag like that could be the deciding factor in a match.

I can see how the lure of competitive matches works as I was definitely wanting more, although now on a high I thought it best to retire and try a bit of luck with some competitive football.

Safe to say I was hammered, Accrington Stanley vs. FC Barcelona style of hammered with a score line of 8-0 and me receiving a red card (not an actual sending off but your character is reduced to just walking speed with limited functions). It was a team game, 5v5 (goalkeeper is an NPC whose level is taken from the average of your team’s level) but despite our best attempts our opponents were a much better team. It was then I learnt that they belonged to the same club, Empire of Sports take on guilds or clans, which ever being your preference.

It was a feature that I would soon take a look at, but for now, after a fantastic round of tennis I was back on planet reality with another drumming in the football. Time, I think, to hit the showers.







4 responses to “New balls please!”

  1. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    Maybe you’re destined for tennis and not football. Never been much of a sports game player. Most likely a golf game, like Everybody’s Golf, not Tiger Woods style games.

  2. shaunmcilroy avatar

    hah, I’ve been delving into, and looking at Empire of Sports for a while which is the strangest MMO I’ve *ever* seen…

    but kudos to them, it works

  3. Sarah avatar

    I’ve also spent a bit of time playing Empire of Sports and think it’s a refreshing change to the world of MMO’s. It actually becomes really addictive trying to perfect your avatar’s physique to become the best in your chosen sport! I really like it 🙂

  4. Sarah avatar

    * would just like to add that the fact you build your avatar isn’t the refreshing change to MMO’s, but the fact that it is completely sport based. I have heard that FC Barcelona are now on board!

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