A few days ago a post at massively caught my eye. It was regarding the WWII battleground sim MMO that is offering a free 14 day trial at the moment. I have always been a sucker for WWII stuff. Before computers were invented I was a tabletop gamer, splitting my time evenly between Dungeons & Dragons and WWII battles. My favorite were the Advanced Squad Leader series, and I still have all the original box sets. Fantastically complicated but also extremely playable, with the only hitch being that you had to find another person who was just as nutty as you to learn all the rules.

I had heard about the Battleground Europe MMO, but had never dipped my toe in the water. So this week I gave it a shot. The download was a paltry 800 meg, a far cry from the 21 gig that I had to download from Blizzard a few weeks ago. I went through the training sessions, which included infantry, armor, and aircraft experience. The controls are easy and natural, the commands make sense, the graphics are fine and the sound quality is excellent. So out into the field I went.

A campaign that had been going on for almost 80 days was coming to its final conclusion, which was that the Germans were kicking British and French butt. The loading screen informed me that the nasty nazis were overpopulated and the poor Allies were desperate for a willing hero such as myself, so a Tommy I became. You need to become promoted to use better weapons, so a raw recruit like myself can only use a rifle. No problem, I have a few grenades as well, Jerry here I come.

Time to die.

If there is one thing that I am good at in this game it is dying. Combat is chaotic and confusing. I never know which way to run and I end up dying whenever I do so. And dying again. Okay, let me reload this. Hey, you’re dead, what a surprise. My best dying method so far has been getting shot out of a church tower by a tank shell when I hadn’t even shot at anyone and I had been hiding. They couldn’t have known that I was up there, so they must have just been athiests or something and I happened to get in the way of a panzer round. Man this game is hard. They say the learning curve is steep. Is walking up the side of the Empire State Building steep? And so far I haven’t killed a single enemy. I couldn’t hit water if I fell out of a boat. I haven’t hardly even seen the enemy. But he sure sees me.

So it’s really, really hard. What else? Oh, the players are both extremely friendly and very willing to help noobs, yet at the same time completely unsupportive of moron questions or behavior. It’s a really nice balance. Ask a question in general chat and it will be answered with the correct information in very quick time. Why? Because it is in your sides best interest to make sure that you are doing as best as you can, otherwise they may lose. This is PvP gaming at its best – no quarter given, extremely realistic and no cry-baby behavior. I can’t see nerfs happening in this game. Will I stick with it? Well, Cataclysm is coming, but for the moment this is certainly a fun ride and I am determind to kill at least one Axis basterd before my time is up.