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04:jun//2K - allotment review

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04-06-2K:Firstly, I better let you into a little secret (or maybe it isn't such a secret) - I really don't like the Allotment, I never have. When I set out to do this review I had a score already in my mind based on my opinion of the place - you know what, if anything, this is just going to prove how fairly I rate sites.

Anyway… On reaching the main page of the Allotment you are fairly underwhelmed - in fact if I was a fickle casual gamer I might not give it a second glance as I went "boring" in my head and typed something else into the address bar. The design is frankly just awful; it just doesn't leap out of the screen towards you. I don't know what Sniper was thinking when he redesigned the place just prior to his departure but I reckon he wasn't particularly sober - the colours are drab, for a game as cartoony as worms the site has more of a scientific research feel about it. Once you get past that you notice just how much content there is here, the navigation bar is huge and it takes a couple of scrolls with the mouse wheel to reach the bottom. However, the shear amount of content could get a little confusing unless you know what you are looking for, but as long as you just plough though everything will be fine.

Okay going down the navigation bar, the links page hasn't been updated in a while but does provide you with access to lots of site you may or may not have visited before - this has been kinda superseded by the links on the Official Site so I doubt very much whether this will be something that they will be looking to update that regularly. There are a few different message boards that you can visit and choose to post on, but with the exception of the community board (which I'll get back too) they don't seem to generate that much activity.

A lot of the content on this site is in the form of downloads, they are hundreds of different things that the interested wormer can get from here. Sigworm development kits (there is a gallery of other peoples efforts so you can see what they should look like), soundbanks, options files, custom levels, grave stones, along with a selection of games that you can play with Worms. Personally I haven't tried any of them out but by the shear number of them available I presume that they are a popular activity for some wormers.

Next up there is info on how to beat the missions in Worms: Armageddon, along with deathmatch tips and help with the training segment of the game. All of this has been lifted from Jon Skeet's W:A Page of Light, but since he is a member of the A-Team I'll let them off. There is a similar range of information about W2, but whether this is of any use to anyone any more is debatable. Then stuck anyway at the bottom of the menu is the "Newbie" section, now this is kinda surprising considering that the majority of the material here is aimed at newcomers. I don't know about you, but I know how to win a game, design sigworms etc. - a newbie doesn't. I didn't realise this until I was reviewing the site, the Allotment seems to have the image of "this is where the hardcore wormers come", truth is however, that everything here is geared toward new arrivals, anyway I digress. The newbie section provides information about both W:A and w2, along with advice about the Allotment message board and WormNET. This stuff should really be at the top of the menu where a newcomer is first likely to look - it provides solid advice on the ways of the game and should get them "up to speed" very quickly.

Following this there is a rather excellent account of all the glitches in the game, I think it is more geared towards Worms 2, but most of the stuff still applies to W:A as well (at least I think it does). The page gives you advice on how to exploit these glitches; my only regret is that I didn't find this when I was a newbie.

Right, onto the main attraction of the Allotment: the community message board. Until recently this was the official message board for the game, but Team 17 got so fed up with the behaviour on it that they revoked that status. That basically sums up my opinion of it, and is perhaps the reason why I tend to keep away from the place these days - although there can be a high level of debate, more often than not the board is filled up with stupid immature posts slagging other people off or generally people just posting rubbish for the sake of it. As the community flagship it isn't doing a very good job - the board is probably too big, open to too many people, it can be very difficult to find something that you are interested in because there may have been several hundred posts since the last time you visited. But the biggest problem this board has is its hostility to newbies; I mean the site is geared towards these wormers, but the minute they post on the board they get attacked by some of the regulars. That isn't something that should be happening, if anything is going to put off people coming into the community it is that. I mean if you moved into a new house and your neighbours were hostile towards you, you wouldn't be too happy and would probably have thought twice about buying the house if you had known about your neighbours beforehand.

For a newbie this site is you wildest dreams come true - there is everything you could ask for; downloads, advice, information. All that is missing is a forum where you can post without the threat of attack from more established people. However, if you have been playing worms for ages chances are you have most of the stuff here from previous visits and are now more used to creating these same things to share with others than you are with downloading them. All that is really here for established wormers is the community message board - it is probably just as well this now links with other sites.

I was really quite surprising with the amount and quality of the content available here - it is vast resource which, if it was aimed at the people it should be aimed at would be even better. As it is however, it suffers from a couple of problems - namely, the awful design and the fact that the board members are so hostile to newbies. Stay away from the board though and you will be fine.

Grade: 2

//agi. []