Getting over my morbid fears that ET:QW will not be as great as many expect is no mean feat, but for the purpose of this article I am moving those thoughts to the back of my mind, in to a dark place where those fears can fester into nightmares and eventual chronic insomnia.

There is no doubt that ET's competitive scene has flourished since Quakecon 2006 and we are seeing LANs with substantial prizes being publicised every quarter and whilst this has come, in my opinion, at the cost of leaving the unclanned-play-for-fun-on-noobie-pubs scene all but dead, it is for the better. What I am quite interested in seeing though, in amongst the LANs, the defeat of Dignitas at the hands of zeroPoint! and possibly Loekino sending me naked pics of himself over the Internet is how the transition from ET is made to ET:QW.

Will it be that the most competitive top clans will expect the same LAN activity from ET's younger sibling immediately or will said top dogs remain in ET until she lies in her deathbed? Will there be a purist's revolt at ET:QW from the ET community as there was from the RTCW community to ET? After all, the transition from RTCW to ET wasn't so big that an entirely new graphical engine was implemented. How will players react to this sea change in gaming style, I have a strong feeling that many of today's best will not be able to cut it at the same level in ET:QW, although that feeling isn't quite as strong as my belief that England won't qualify for Euro 2008.

I'm not sure if people really do appreciate how different ET:QW is to ET. We're not just talking sexier graphics, psychotic aliens and a graphics engine that makes your rig it's gimp - although those are big changes - we're talking reallocation of skills and a definite shift towards the realm of Battlefield 2142. Gone are the days of simple human pawns pitted against each other to achieve minor objectives that have a minute bearing on the war - we're talking the Earth fighting alien motherfuckers for the sake of humankind. But I digress...

Will ET:QW be a LAN friendly game? Yes, of that there is no doubt in my mind. Will it be a game adopted by major LANs? Of that I'm not so sure. The simplicity of ET makes it easy to follow by anybody with an IQ similar to the data path on their PC (32 or 64, your choice) but ET:QW is a bit more involved and not so easy to follow. The playing field is a lot wider and there is a lot more going on simultaneously that is fairly complex to follow in your mind when you're not playing - just relaxing with the brain running at one quarter capacity (that's how I roll anyway). I'm not saying I won't enjoy it, I'm just wondering if it will be as spectator friendly - because let's face it Crossfire vs KiH at Quakecon was pretty fucking intense with TosspoT's commentary.

Will ET:QW be greeted by LAN organisations immediately with ET's grandfather rights? No, I really doubt it. In fact, I would go as far to say that ET:QW may not even be an official feature at this year's Quakecon tournament as the release time and event date are rapidly approaching each other. Even if we see ET:QW take off this year and get patched up a little by Splash Damage to fix teething problems by December, I wouldn't think LANs would start offering prize purses for it until mid-2008 at the earliest. Maybe I'm wrong and depending on how ET:QW turns out, I really hope I am, but those who have read any of my previous columns will know I tend to expect the worst in order to be pleased by the best.