TF2 Metafilter Game, December 1 Edition November 29, 2007 8:45 PM   Subscribe

Team Fortress 2 Weekend Match (and info for new players): Saturday December 1st.

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Server Info:
Name: [MeFi] Your Favorite Class Sucks
Type: Team Fortress 2
IP Address: Port: 27015

(I've added (by request from new TF2er DaShiv) a scheduled game to the Steam Metafilter Group for Saturday, December 1st, at 2pm, which unless I'm mistaken, is the usual time. Unfortunately, that's 4am my time, so I can't make it then (and haven't been able to the last several weeks). Plutor, cortex or itchylick, please change the time for the match if I got it wrong.

I'm not going to be home all day Saturday my time anyway this weekend, so don't worry about an alternate time for my sake, anyway, unless it can be sometime Sunday Korea time)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken to MetaFilter Gatherings at 8:45 PM (219 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

poop, bot will be away with the wife, botterating for his birthday
posted by iamabot at 8:50 PM on November 29, 2007

I've just updated the event to what I believe to be 11AM Pacific, 2PM Eastern. I'm pretty sure the Steam Community event calendar displays the event time in (what it believes to be) the local timezone of the user, which sounds like a good idea but manages to be utterly boggling somehow.

If someone on the east coast can check the steam event and let me know if it is in fact for 2pm your time, that'd be great.

Related: I've gotten some emails/mefimails from folks interested in being on a mefi/TF2 announce list. If you'd like on too, hit me up. There's no mailing list actually in place yet, but we'll get it put together.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:55 PM on November 29, 2007

I just checked. The Steam Event shows up for me as set for 2pm EST on Friday, November 30. Move it forward one day, and you got it!

See ya there!
posted by gemmy at 9:04 PM on November 29, 2007

Fixed! (Stavros, in the future I guess that means set it for whatever-o-clock Korea translates to 2PM EST, rather than whatever the hell you did.)
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:08 PM on November 29, 2007

*reels in confusion*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:10 PM on November 29, 2007

Is this something I need a box full of oranges to ply with?
posted by wendell at 9:49 PM on November 29, 2007

Thanks, stavros! I'm waiting on UPS to deliver my copy of the Orange Box, and in all likelihood I still won't have time to be playing hardly at all for the next week or so (aside from dropping by to say howdy on Saturday). Phooey.

I'm thinking that after the holidays are over, it'd be great to have a n00b day to welcome those who may have received the game as a gift. I'll be up to speed on the game by then and would be happy to offer guidance to newcomers over the in-game voice chat (also waiting on UPS for my new headset... sigh). Not that I think the help will be all that essential: I've heard that Team Fortress 2 is amazingly accessible and newbie-friendly, especially for a team-based FPS. But in my old TF1 clan, the saying goes: the best welcome is a rocket upside the head. Game on.

Oh, and my new Steam avatar will pwn you all.
posted by DaShiv at 10:13 PM on November 29, 2007

I just picked up TF2 this week and have been slowly getting used to it. I'll have to start joining all of you for these matches soon, although unfortunately I'll be at work for this one.

Game on!
posted by Stunt at 10:29 PM on November 29, 2007

Can we do an XBox live TF2 game at the same time?
posted by ludwig_van at 10:43 PM on November 29, 2007

This article claims that they had clients from both platforms playing as early as April, but that's all I know about interoperability. Can you connect to a server IP from an Xbox?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:52 PM on November 29, 2007

So you are actually going to shoot the other team or just hurl endless comments at them?
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 12:26 AM on November 30, 2007

pwned phlaggd!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:43 AM on November 30, 2007

By the way, if there are any night owls or people in other time zones around right now, I'm going to playing for a few hours starting in about 30 minutes, and I'll periodically check to see if there's anyone on the MeFi server if you want to mess around for a while (or send me a message via the steam friends thingy, I guess). My username on steam is elcraptastico.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:50 AM on November 30, 2007

Is the steam metafilter group invitation only? xbox360, or PC for this? Just received TF2 yesterday. It was supposed to be a present for someone else....decisions, decisions.
posted by greenskpr at 5:13 AM on November 30, 2007

For those of us with kids and other Saturday afternoon obligations, will anyone be around at 8:00PMish for an evening game?
posted by bondcliff at 6:05 AM on November 30, 2007

i'll try and turn up for that one : )
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:05 AM on November 30, 2007

I'm more likely to make an evening game on Saturdays than one in the afternoon. Sounds like it wouldn't hurt to just schedule one.
posted by exogenous at 6:12 AM on November 30, 2007

To clarify, 8:00PM Eastern time.
posted by bondcliff at 6:16 AM on November 30, 2007

DaShiv, you were in CE? Goddamn

posted by prostyle at 7:10 AM on November 30, 2007

Ooh! I just received the Orange Box (Noob!) and have been itching to try TF2. I'll see if I can make this weekend's match.
posted by Verdant at 7:15 AM on November 30, 2007

I always manage to forget to login on Saturdays at 2pm. perhaps tomorrow will be different. I would second the idea of having either:
a. more scheduled events, or..
b. removing the password during the week so the server can have games going m-f.
posted by French Fry at 7:45 AM on November 30, 2007

For people wondering.. no, you can't play 360 TF2 with PCs, and vice versa. There is no cross-platform play.

The Steam MeFi group is not invite only though, but you do have to have Steam installed on your system (which makes sense, because how else would you play? :) ).

Looking forward to playing again tomorrow!
posted by tittergrrl at 8:10 AM on November 30, 2007

god damn I would love to play tf2 with you guys. my demoman would make you wish you were never born. more importantly, I am around at 2pm EST on saturday to play. question, what's the possibility of finding this server over xbox live? having met daShiv in real life I would very much like to explode him, but in a nice way because he rocks. My pc is garbage, though, so I didn't get the orange box for it.

other questions, do we have mefites playing call of duty at all, or ghiii?
posted by shmegegge at 8:15 AM on November 30, 2007

The nice thing about steam is that it will track any game steam knows about and your playing of it. For instance when I play company of heroes the folks in my friends list get a little message about it.

If you don't have orange box but do have steam or are willing to install steam you can download and purchase through steam. This works best if your intertube links are wheeeeeee fast and whoa wide.
posted by iamabot at 8:21 AM on November 30, 2007

I'm not sure if we'll be able to pick a time that works for everyone, but here's a possible scenario:

If we change the Saturday time to 5 pm EST, this is what it looks like for others:

2 pm San Fransicso, CA
4 pm Chicago, IL
5 pm Washington, DC
10 pm London
7 am Korea (next day)

I realize this might be kind of late for folks in England and early for Stavros, but just thought I'd throw it out there.
posted by itchylick at 9:51 AM on November 30, 2007

10pm would be a bit late for me, but on the other hand it's going to be pretty hard for me to join games anyway. End of year always seems super busy.
posted by Olli at 10:03 AM on November 30, 2007

Man, maybe our profiles should list the multiplayer games we play in addition to the social networking sites we're on.

I'm snackzero on Xbox live, by the way.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:07 AM on November 30, 2007

Olli: Yeah, that would be late for me too, so I understand. If Stavros can get up at 6 am, then that's at least a 9 pm start time for you ;)

Time zone solution: Everybody just come over to my place next Saturday.
posted by itchylick at 10:23 AM on November 30, 2007

prostyle: Yeppers, here's an old CE roster page, which lists my join date as March 16, 1998. Interestingly enough, OSKI was based in my alma mater at the same time I was in CE, and I knew some of the guys in that notorious all-LPB clan. ("If you play QuakeWorld Team Fortress, there was a time when you feared Oski, Fifth Element, and Clan Erinyes.") The famous Quake DMer Thresh was a local, and CalBear and a number of noted early Starcraft players were also there at the school at that time, as well as a number of other hardcore gamers that eventually went and founded (a number of my dormmates dropped out to work there, but the site eventually got bought out and is not all that great now). Berkeley was way old school as far as these things went, and those were some amazing years to be there for the gaming scene...

In retrospect, I could've gotten better grades during college.
posted by DaShiv at 10:31 AM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Right on, see y'all there.
posted by First Post at 2:12 PM on November 30, 2007

I'll be there. And to the newbs: Don't worry about messing up or playing poorly initially. No one will give you grief about it.
posted by picea at 4:17 PM on November 30, 2007

er....what time is this in the uk ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:30 PM on November 30, 2007

Pyro says "Mmm-mmmmh!"
posted by infinitewindow at 5:30 PM on November 30, 2007

I'd be up for either/both. I've been practicing on the pubbies, so maybe I'll even end up above last rank this week!
posted by chundo at 7:51 PM on November 30, 2007

er....what time is this in the uk ?

7 pm, I believe.
posted by itchylick at 5:03 AM on December 1, 2007

Oooh, if else'll be around sometime later than 2 (like those 8 or 5pm suggestion), I'll be there.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 6:56 AM on December 1, 2007

If DaShiv is going to be there, I expect pics from this meetup.
posted by Eideteker at 7:04 AM on December 1, 2007

Fuck yes!

I've only played a few hours of TF2 so far (most of it on my coworker's account) — since I installed the Orange Box I've mostly played fucking Peggle Extreme.

Things you should not do with Steam:
  • Do not install Peggle Extreme
  • Do not install Peggle Extreme on the computers in your office
  • Do not play Peggle duels with your coworkers all day
This is for your own mental health.
posted by blasdelf at 7:38 AM on December 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'll be there-- switched screen names from 'altbit' to 'biff'.
posted by rama at 11:13 AM on December 1, 2007

That was great fun as per usual! See ya next week, I hope.
posted by gemmy at 1:25 PM on December 1, 2007

huzzah! I now know when to take lunch on Saturdays. till we kill again,
posted by Busithoth at 2:19 PM on December 1, 2007

10pm GMT (i.e. 5pm est) would be rather a late kick off for me, but I could probably make it. What I have noticed is that we run for about 2 hours, and then tail off pretty quickly. Keeping the 2pm EST, and a 2nd scheduled evening time, like the 8PM EST suggested would make life easier for the evening crowd in the US (and a sane time for stavros)

You'd lose the euros, but hey, we have the 7PM GMT slot!

Scheduled times are useful, because we're not quite a big enough group to make pick-up play on a rolling basis really have enough people. I had to queue for a while to get in yesterday (much fun had when I did get in though!) so we're possibly even in need of a 2nd server. I'll see if I can set one up, but it'll be UK based.

I think training sessions for those who feel lost and confused would be a decent idea, especially after the holiday; if there's interest I could probably set up some sort of pre-game training session, tho I'd appreciate a hand with the classes I don't play much, like spy and engie. (I used to run the odd training session in my old BF2 clan) Pop me a mefi message or email if you're interested.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:47 AM on December 2, 2007

Ok, I've added a second event to the Steam calendar. Let me know if you're not seeing the correct time in Steam:

Saturday Match #1
11 am San Fransisco, CA
1 pm Chicago, IL
2 pm Washington, DC
7 pm London
4 am Korea (Sunday)

Saturday Match #2
5 pm San Fransisco, CA
7 pm Chicago, IL
8 pm Washington, DC
1 am London (Sunday)
10 am Korea (Sunday)
posted by itchylick at 5:39 AM on December 2, 2007

That was loads of fun - look forward to the next one !
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:26 AM on December 3, 2007

Arkhan: I'd be interested in a training session/play around with different classes session.

I tend to stay at medic because 1) I'm pretty good at it I think, and 2) I enjoy playing support roles. But I do wanna get better at the other stuff, especially spy... but not in a way that will hurt my team. Or embarrass me on the pubs. ;)

So yeah I'd be interested. Be nice to spend some time to scout out maps to learn the best place to put engineering junk too.
posted by tittergrrl at 8:48 AM on December 3, 2007

Seconding an interest in training.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:02 PM on December 3, 2007

Not worth another Valve-y front page post, but you folks might like this shiny article from the CGSociety on the TF2 design process.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:57 AM on December 4, 2007

“There are no middle managers, assistants, producers, or directors. Instead, we believe in a simple mantra: Whoever designs something, builds it. As a result, our design is entirely collaborative, made up of a wide variety of disciplines, where everyone in the room can contribute to the design knowing that ultimately, they'll be responsible for implementing it."

Now that sounds like a nice place to work.
posted by itchylick at 8:03 AM on December 4, 2007

It is until Gabe breaks out the crowbar.
posted by shmegegge at 11:26 AM on December 4, 2007

"The crowbar in Valve’s lobby. Newell almost wanted to use it against the hacker."

How bizarre. I mean, I understand his anger, but they way that's written, I am tempted to believe he really might have bashed the guys head in given the chance.
posted by itchylick at 1:01 PM on December 4, 2007

I know, right? It's put to much better use against pinatas (I think the next page in that article discusses him bashing one after they completed half life 2) and head crabs.
posted by shmegegge at 2:00 PM on December 4, 2007

Man would I love to see a headcrab pinata.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:08 PM on December 4, 2007

Heh. I like their advance screenshot of Team Fortress 2.
posted by chundo at 10:11 AM on December 8, 2007

I've had lots of fun playing with you folks, but this week toward the end there was some talk of maybe changing the server's map rotation. My own two cents are that I completely loathe control point style maps. Back when I was playing in QWTF tourneys, all tourneys were run on CTF-style maps ('2fort4', '2fort5', 'well6', 'sewer1', 'rock2', '2tech4', etc) because they provided the best gameplay, and because objective-style maps (such as 'hunted') always had problems with fairness and skewed gameplay. IIRC the lone exception was one small tourney I knew that ran exclusively 'canalzon' and didn't have most of the big-name clans involved, but that was the exception that proves the rule. For me, the CP-style TF2 maps have "skewed gameplay" in the sense of having lots and lots of very un-fun running and more running around, or waiting around to charge ubers and to form groups, or sitting on a CP like an exposed duck waiting for a pyro to come by to light everyone up while wishing you had a medic -- or the unholiest of TF2 travesties, the scout rush. And I don't think CP-style maps are very newbie-friendly in terms of navigation and coordination, either, whereas CTF maps are very intuitive for newcomers to grasp ("here's the intel we defend, just follow the compass if our intel gets taken or to take their intel") and offensive/defensive/support roles are very well laid-out in CTF. Whereas in contrast, CP maps seem rife with specialized "map tricks" of one sort or another in a gimmicky way.

Maybe I'm just being an old fogey and times are a-changin', but CTF-style maps are still IMO the way to go; I would like to see fewer/none CP and more CTF in our server map rotation. In TF2, there's '2fort' as well as many other custom CTF maps to try. As an example, I really, really like 'mach2'.
posted by DaShiv at 2:29 AM on December 9, 2007

Great game once again, guys! I really appreciate having the later game (1am for me) because I'm usually out at 7pm on Saturdays.

It would be nice to try a CTF game - I don't think I've ever played one at all on the Mefi server!

BTW, does anyone have any suggestions for good headset/mics? Bonus points if they play well with iMacs running Windows via Bootcamp.
posted by adrianhon at 6:22 AM on December 9, 2007

I agree with the suggestion, DaShiv. I really enjoy the CP maps (mostly, at any rate, and only when there's a good engy around), but think that they punish disparate skill levels far more than CTF maps. At the very least set up some sort of map voting system?
posted by absalom at 7:34 AM on December 9, 2007

A map vote system would definitely be the ideal way to solve that, IMHO. I'd sure love to see some custom maps too, the stock rotation is getting kinda stale. We still had fun, though! The server stayed occupied for most of the afternoon/evening.
posted by gemmy at 8:56 AM on December 9, 2007

hmmm i prefer dustbowl but im ok with map rotation (wheres that old tfc map that had the really long bridges and canalzone was a good map too ...... which sounds like the best idea ....any way to make games more frequent now ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:21 AM on December 9, 2007

Has rock2 been ported to TF2 yet? I miss that one. Mach2 is fun, and I like castle, too. And there's a really cute Christmas one.

But my main suggestion for the mefi server is another scheduled game time -- how about Wednesday nights or something?
posted by muckster at 10:01 AM on December 9, 2007

I think we ought to have the 2 on saturday, maybe one saturday afternoon, then maybe a weekday night one.

Mach2 is a really good CTF map, and it's pretty much the only custom I like a whole lot.
posted by absalom at 10:51 AM on December 9, 2007

I have to say, I'm a huge fan of Mach2. I actually find myself playing that map more often than not lately for some reason, which is probably why I'm in that screenshot with DaShiv...looking very, very feeble in comparison at that point.

Also, Wednesday night would be much more doable for me than saturdays (at least for now) so I'd be all about another game.
posted by Stunt at 10:54 AM on December 9, 2007

DaShiv mentioned the unholiest of TF2 travesties, the scout rush. As the one audibly asking for them, you're talking to me.

Good gravy man, the benefit of playing a friendly game is the fun of silliness. While the Scout Rush can be seen as bad form, the beauty of the All Medic Attack Chain cannot be understated. I saw the MeFite games as a place to have a little fun, more than hone my perfection. I think you are just mad that in the first 30 minutes, the Blues were spanking the Reds with skillz aplenty.

I must also say there was a good set of MeFite decals seen in the match.

Back on topic, the CTF maps are good. Some can come down with severe cases of chokepointitis with 4+ engineers presenting a defense that even Ubers can't blow through. But in that case, I'd just call for a Scout rush... Map voting would solve the overall issue.

Adrianhon, I stay away from USB headsets. Simple audio plug types work well and have no compatibility issues. I use this Plantronics headset. Good sound, but the closed ear aspects can get warm during the summer.
posted by Argyle at 11:13 AM on December 9, 2007

I used to hate scout rushes. Then I started playing a Pyro a lot. Man, those little fuckers burn nice.
posted by Cyrano at 11:35 AM on December 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

A slightly different map rotation could be nice. I'd be okay with a CTF-only rotation for our matches as long as any custom maps had an eye toward game balance; I've played too many custom maps that are just atrociously imbalanced and no fun to play, though there are a couple reasonable ones out there among the cruft.

Cyrano, no kidding about that: scissors, meet rock. It's what TF2 is all about.
posted by anifinder at 12:25 PM on December 9, 2007

I don't know if I'd be holding up TF2's 2fort as any sort of watershed moment for enjoyable maps. Personally, the more I play it, the less I want to play it in the future; it feels like on most public servers, it very frequently devolves into impassable stalemates. Sure, I can enjoy myself just in basic gameplay, but it actually feels less objective-oriented and more like deathmatch (vs. the CP maps), precisely because the intelligence rooms and routes are so easily defended.

I dunno. I don't dislike it (or CTF style maps) in concept, but I'd be really sad to see the MeFi server go all CTF. A lot of the CP style maps are just incredibly fun, and in the (very large amount of) time I've been playing TF2, I have had some of my most memorable rounds (both winning and losing) on those.

Map voting would be cool, though, because then you could easily have the server switch it up based on what people actually playing at that time would like, vs. putting into place a blanket map type policy.
posted by tocts at 1:51 PM on December 9, 2007

So is this an every Saturday thing? Because I would love to get in on the action for next Saturday. BTW DaShiv, generally I agree with you about control point maps. But what about Dustbowl or Warpath? The former, I know, has a lot of problems with demomen gaming the map by chugging grenades over the roof and pyros camping the spawn point. But there's so much more variation in that one than in TF2, despite the weeks of my life I wasted playing TF2 and well6 back in the original team fortress for Quakeworld.

As for Warpath, just played that one the other day. Have you given it a try? It's a really nice custom map with a huge playing area and 5 points to fight over. And it doesn't generate into lame scout rushes the way Granary does. ##)(%#) Granary, so tired of that map.

Also, can anyone confirm whether The Rock has come out?
posted by Happydaz at 1:52 PM on December 9, 2007

I think the Saturday afternoon game ran into a patch of ugly when we hit Granary and it was completely one-sided and went on forever. Is there a way to establish a point limit for the maps that can get to be more painful? Say, 3 points and then it rotates to the next map? Or maybe just set a shorter timer for the maps? I'd rather not throw out the point capture maps entirely.

That said, I think some map rotation is a good idea, and so is having the ability to vote for maps. How easy is it to implement the custom maps and things like map voting? If herrdoktor is the only one able to implement the changes, I don't want to put him out. Haven't actually seen him around on Saturday afternoons much, so it feel like we're kind of a charity case here, with him footing the bill and all. Or do the MeFi Steam group admins have the access needed to do this?
posted by picea at 2:04 PM on December 9, 2007

I emailed herrdoktor earlier today regarding the ability to have access to map rotations, spawn times, etc. I currently only have the ability to reboot the server in the event of a new patch. Cortex or Plutor may have higher levels of access.

Regarding the server costs: I think the server is about $24 a month for 24 slots (more if it's public, so keeping it private keeps the cost down). There's certainly enough of us at this point to where we'd only have to kick in a buck a month to keep it going and herrdoktor can break even.
posted by itchylick at 2:44 PM on December 9, 2007

Still haven't been able to get to a game -- I was out of town this weekend.

Let me just offer this worthless internet opinion, though. I strongly feel that at this early stage of the game (after, what 60 hours or so of play, I'm still learning new map strategies) that anything but the default map rotation is a travesty of something or other. I like playing some of the new user maps appearing for fun, but one of the things that drove me out of competetive gaming (in my case, last time was Rocket Arena 3 mod for Quake 3) was the endless fucking rotation of two or three maps that the most people 'liked'.

All of the TF2 maps are good, and worth learning.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:05 PM on December 9, 2007

itchylick, thanks for being on the ball here. Maybe herrdoktor could set up a paypal account so we could chip in? I'd be willing to, for sure. It'd be nice if we could get a weeknight game going as well, so our dollars go a bit further.
posted by picea at 3:09 PM on December 9, 2007

Also (and again, even though I haven't been able to make a game on the MeFi server), I disagree with DaShiv's contentions that "the CP-style maps are[n't] very newbie-friendly in terms of navigation and coordination, either, whereas CTF maps are very intuitive for newcomers to grasp ("here's the intel we defend, just follow the compass if our intel gets taken or to take their intel") and offensive/defensive/support roles are very well laid-out in CTF. Whereas in contrast, CP maps seem rife with specialized "map tricks" of one sort or another in a gimmicky way."

Because of the compile-on-demand nature of Hydro, it's probably got the most potential to confuse the newb, but I'd contend that 'newbie-friendly' is not a good measure of quality when there is so much depth. As well, I haven't seen a single 'gimmick' (that wasn't a map exploit) that couldn't be counteracted with some smart strategy. This game is spectacularly well-balanced, and the need for new players to learn that they should try different classes and learn the strengths and weaknesses based on the tide o' battle/team composition/current map is strength, especially for them. It doesn't take more than a round or three on a given map to start to get a feel for them. I'd say the maps are, by and large, splendidly designed.

Also, there's nothing wrong with scout rushes (usually on Granary and Gravelpit) per se. They only work against a team that doesn't know what to do, which is send a couple of pyros up and crisp them critters before the central cap (on Granary) or after. Again, I haven't seen any 'strategy' that couldn't be countered, although there are a few (engineer overload and turtling, for example) that make the game drag on sometimes.

For my part, I'm tempted to just quit 2Fort (isn't that the only CTF map in the release package?) when it comes up, because of the inevitable engineer overload and turtling that goes on. I've got to say I think you've got it completely backwards, Mr Shiv, sir.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:53 PM on December 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

I dunno. I don't dislike it (or CTF style maps) in concept, but I'd be really sad to see the MeFi server go all CTF. A lot of the CP style maps are just incredibly fun, and in the (very large amount of) time I've been playing TF2, I have had some of my most memorable rounds (both winning and losing) on those.
Quoted for truth. Didn't see that earlier (pre coffee here).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:54 PM on December 9, 2007

By the way, the addon mode I've seen most used for mapvoting is called RockTheVote, if HerrDoktor or someone want to throw it on. I still prefer a default map rotation, maybe with a couple of the best of the community-made maps (CP and CTF) thrown in for fun.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:56 PM on December 9, 2007

* Kills Stav With Headshot *
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:04 PM on December 9, 2007

Sort of related TF2 stats
posted by absalom at 5:12 PM on December 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

* Kills Stav With Headshot *

Kill the head and the body dies. Luckily, my head is my least vulnerable body part. It is thick and bony.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:17 PM on December 9, 2007

and the need for new players to learn that they should try different classes and learn the strengths and weaknesses based on the tide o' battle/team composition/current map is strength, especially for them.

I agree with this totally. I've found myself abandoning classes I'm naturally inlcined to play (sniper) because I suck or playing classes that might not be my preference because that's what the team needed. And I think this is a good thing. Really brings out the "T" in TF2. (I always feel a slight pang of guilt lighting up my medic from the last map after the teams have shuffled, though. But I get over it.)

As far as learning the maps, just follow someone who looks like they know where they're going. Worked for me. (Just don't follow me. I'm probably on my way to a suicide charge.)
posted by Cyrano at 5:24 PM on December 9, 2007

For anyone who would like to add this thread as an RSS feed to their My Yahoo, iGoogle etc., here's a pipe that has a reverse filter so that the newest comments are listed first (as opposed to the default chronological order which will only always show the first 5 or 10 comments ... not very useful).
posted by itchylick at 6:39 PM on December 9, 2007

I still say the spy rush on saturday was one of the funniest things ever. If you disagree you are painfully wrong! And speaking of scout rushes, as someone said... if you don't like them, a bunch of pyros very quickly will get rid of a lot of scouts, killing the rush. Which was used quite effectively one round of Granary against our scout rush.

Personally, I enjoy the CP maps quite a lot. So I would hate to see them go.

If I would ask for anything it would be for variants like Melee2 (i think it's called... I'd have to look again). Basically it's a big football field with CTF aspects, but locked to only allowing heavies, soldiers and scouts. Or anything that is quick and maybe silly to break up the long spurts of CPs or long lasting 2fort sessions.

But yes, map vote. Please. And I'd be more than happy to chip money in.
posted by tittergrrl at 7:01 PM on December 9, 2007

The best way to learn a map is to play medic, since you end up following a lot of people who tend to know the lay of the land. Plus medic is fun on a bun!
posted by tittergrrl at 7:02 PM on December 9, 2007

When I hit a new community map that I haven't played before, I always go scout and runforrestrun around the place, checking it out. Jump around enough and you might even get back from the grand tour alive! I'm always tempted to stop for a taunt or two behind enemy lines, though.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:41 PM on December 9, 2007

I haven't played on the MeFite server, which I will try to remedy, but I thought I'd comment anyway.

TF2 has a very different design philosophy than the original TF. TF2's basic goal is to present you with a constant stream of interesting decisions. That's why it's so capture-point heavy, because the ebb and flow of two teams battling across a map means that nothing stays static. You can't pre-make your mind up about what you're going to do... you have to decide, over and over, right now.

You're probably used to the old TF way of doing things, which is to pick a role, and a station, and keep doing that for the whole game. The designers of TF2 think that's boring.

Ultimately, I think they're right, but it takes some internal rewiring to get used to. You need to reprogram your expectations: you'll never get the same game twice, and you can't control things as well as you can with TF. You just have to be flexible and deal with it. :)

Limiting the maps would, I think, limit the potential for others to have fun, since TF2 is sort of designed as eight-games-in-one. For all classes to shine equally, there needs to be a variety of map types.
posted by Malor at 2:37 AM on December 10, 2007

I just finished a round of 2Fort. I'm really starting to hate that goddamn map.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:41 AM on December 10, 2007

CTF maps are all about communication and teamwork, IMHO, even moreso that CP maps. That's why it's so painful to play them on public servers and why I think they'll be far more fun playing on server with high levels of coordination and communication

The Mach4 Map is probably the best other CTF map I've seen, but I don't like the way the have the intel room itself set up.
posted by absalom at 11:30 AM on December 10, 2007

Thought people would enjoy this: the initial Normandy Landing scenes (cut up) from Saving Private Ryan, using TF2 music and voices only. So hilariously well done. A tiny bit of the graphic violence from the film, but probably SFW.
posted by tittergrrl at 11:43 AM on December 10, 2007

Argh, lemme post that as a link.
posted by tittergrrl at 11:44 AM on December 10, 2007

Also disagreeing with DaShiv's view on CP maps. The five-in-a-row ones require too much running around, and I'm tiring of them (granary and well), but dustbowl and hydro are some of the most fun maps out there.

CTF can also be fun, but it can also be painfully boring. DaShiv, judging by your screenshot, maybe you think it's fun because it's easy to massacre truckloads of people as an engineer - but that's what makes those levels so tedious for some of us. I don't think it's a fun game when my team spends all their time trying to break through sentry gun bottlenecks.
posted by chundo at 11:53 AM on December 10, 2007

posted by chundo at 11:55 AM on December 10, 2007

Adrianhon -

I'm playing on an iMac with Boot Camp, and I just got a Logitech headset for $16 from Amazon. It works great, but the over-the-ear band kind of hurts my ears after awhile, so if you're not familiar with that style of headphones, I'd get a more standard style. I'd also recommend headsets with normal 1/8" headphone jacks too, not USB headsets.
posted by chundo at 12:04 PM on December 10, 2007

Oops, sorry about the ".dfs" comment two back from here - I spilled coffee on my keyboard and must have accidentally submitted a comment while cleaning it up.
posted by chundo at 12:04 PM on December 10, 2007

Somewhat offtopic, but being relatively new to gaming (I finally broke down and installed Windows), what other games would a TF2 fanatic find fun?
posted by chundo at 12:21 PM on December 10, 2007


No One Lives Forever and No One Lives Forever 2

Dues Ex.

As a bonus, they're all a few years old and won't require a monster system to run. I play through each one about once a year. They don't have the online aspect, though. The only game I played online prior to TF2 was Return to Castle Wolfenstein back in the day, which had good multiplayer but I don't know how many people are still out there playing it.

Hopes in vain for some future Smurfenstein multiplayer action...
posted by Cyrano at 3:42 PM on December 10, 2007

Chundo: if you have TF2 and can run it adequately, you should definitely play Half Life 2 and it's sequels and portal. And Half Life (the original) if you haven't yet.

Seriously, no excuses if you can run them! ;)

It's not a FPS or anything, but Steam also now allows you to get Psychonauts, which is one of the funniest games in the past 10 to 20 years. And really really fun. Can't recommend it enough... it's one of those "best game no one played" games.
posted by tittergrrl at 4:16 PM on December 10, 2007

I agree with Dashiv about CTF maps - I usually play 2fort and to be honest the better the team the more fun to be had, it is definitely a benefit to be playing with other users that you know and get to know their classes, tactics etc. I don't think we should play exclusively however in Sat it only came up in the rotation after 90 minutes or so by which time there were only a couple of us left.

Regarding the engineers and camping, I think that CTF maps particularly open up the spy class who counter the engineers and provide good spy outing fun based stuff. In any case everyone has their preferences, so a quicker rotation might be better.

<runs out bunny-hopping>

btw. check out TF2Wiki for strategy for maps and classes, personally I don't think I have been killed quite enough. Next game I am playing as a civilian
posted by clarkie666 at 6:02 PM on December 10, 2007

While mulling over the fundamental differences between CTF vs CP play, I ran across this old gem again from QWTF: the Team Fortress Done Extreme video. Of course there's a lot of pretty rocket/grenade work here, but the real highlights for me include:

05:41 - elevator conc jump
06:15 - wall rocket jump, then double rocket jump up elevator to escape with flag
06:46 - through-the-grate flag pass, mid-air scout flag catch
07:15 - into-window flag pass, rocket jump flag grab
08:28 - water conc jump escape with flag
09:12 - grenade grate open and defender kill from outside, then flag grab/escape
09:57 - rocket grate open from outside, then rocket jump flag grab
12:11 - pipe jump, then gren teammate to boost him+flag across courtyard

It really illustrates the perfect storm that made Team Fortress such a phenomenon: novel (at the time) class-based FPS combat, super fast and bouncy QuakeWorld physics for frenetic CTF play, and the nascent clan scene during Internet gaming's coming-of-age. It really was the right game at the right time.

Because my QWTF clan (Clan Erinyes, [CE]) was often out-fragged but had a very winning record by out-capping our opponents (we were one of the strongest proponents of caps-only scoring and leagues rather than caps+frags), I must strenuously challenge the assertion being bandied about that CTF maps are more static and frag-based than CP maps. CTF is about moving and defending a dynamic objective, with the whole map being a canvas of routes and options for the drama to be played out across. (Don't forget that the main competitor to QWTF at the time, Threewave CTF, had friggin' grappling hooks to emphasize the mobility part.) On a well-designed CTF map, every corner of every route is to be probed and contested, attacked and defended. As the above video shows, moving the objective on CTF is not intrinsically tied to fragging defenders at all, and only with the most incompetent players is there no flag movement whatsoever. I can't count the number of times in TF2 that I've seen a competent spy simply sap-and-grab against sentries close to the intel just to move the intel out of sentry cover and toward victory, or another competent spy keep a downed intel alive for the offense through cloaked touches -- and you need to be that spy (as I have on occasion) or take on a similar role if your team is being stalled offensively. (But if you want to contrast this spy approach against simple DM play, look at all the spies trying to rack up knife kills poaching on the stream of enemy outgoings on CP maps like Dustbowl -- YouTube is chock full of examples of it happening, almost entirely on CP maps.) On the other hand, CP maps are about physically occupying static CPs, which entails: a) massing up, b) kill enemies at CP, c) stand and wait while the capture meter fills. Whereas CTF is about movement, you cannot win a CP map without outfragging your opponents at the CP one way or another, and victory is almost entirely determined by the numbers and class composition of the two teams at each CP at any given moment. CP maps are vast and to me, soulless -- empty stretches of uncontested scenery of no importance to plod through against the clock while the action is constrained to a very small portion of it at any given time. Don't let the fact that CP maps have multiple CPs that the map forces you along rail-style fool you about their nature -- it's the CP map style that's about static fragging, not CTF maps.

We were fortunate in [CE] to have Tyr-T2, an amazing sniper and also a map designer for Team Fotress Software (TFS). Back in the day at a [CE] LAN party down in San Diego (coincidentally just after Valve announced they were buying out TFS), we were treated to an entire Q-and-A session about TFS/Valve's plans and goals for TF2. Of course there's been a ton of evolution in TF2 since then, but I learned there that one goal of TF2 was to explore "what else" to do with classes beyond CTF. Hence, I'm not surprised at all by the CP-dominant initial map set in TF2 as they promote this agenda. What's more interesting to consider from that Q-and-A session was the new commander class (discussed extensively) -- an idea finally axed because, as Robin Walker put it, there was just no way to make it fun when you were stuck with a bad team, which comes down to sheer luck outside of organized clan/match play.

And that's the crux of the problem with CP maps: the inescapable team dependency upon the play experience. Already TF2 classes have been simplified to force players to cooperate to get things done: medics can't take out sentries with grenades, demomen can't whittle away at distant enemies with shotguns, scouts can't conc jump past defenses, spies can't outrun opponents with tranq darts, and so on. It takes a team to achieve anything in CP play, and because CP maps are essentially localized team DM matchups with their control-the-CP rather than move-the-flag gameplay, the outcome is at the mercy of the aforementioned team localized superiority through numbers and class selections. It can be frustrating to lose on a bad team in CP play, but it's hollow for me to win a CP and the map just because I had a medic healing me while I fragged, or I was healing someone else while they mopped up, or because someone on my team was willing to play pyro against their scouts, or (by far the most often outcome) simply because we had more guys there than they did. And so on.

On the other hand, CTF encourages and rewards individual role-players, even if the team is doing poorly collectively at that point. I can't count the number of times I've helped turn my poorly-organized team things around on a pub because I as a soldier or demo kept the enemy sniper deck cleared for minutes at a time to give my team a chance to gather for a rally or to force the enemy to divert valuable defensive resources (even to the point of building sentries there, on a number of occasions), enabling victory elsewhere. Or lend my wrench to stop more newbish engineers from getting overrun and to unify and hold our team's defenses at our intel. Or to set up and defend a forward base with my teleporter that opens up a new front (for example, from a balcony) to allow us to overrun enemy defenses. Or to tenaciously defend a dropped flag with stickies until being rewarded with its safe return. Or to break up a stalemate by playing an aforementioned intel-moving spy. Or to defend my team's flimsy forward base as a spy-burning pyro. Or stay alive as medic long enough to break through their intel defense with an uber. And on and on. Of course nobody can do everything for the CTF team and often you can't win a completely uphill battle -- but win or lose, even in a poor team there are vast and immediate rewards in CTF for recognizing or even creating a much-needed role alone without your crappy teammates' support, because "progress" could be as simple as giving your teammate the chance to advance safely from snipers, or trying to start and/or hold a bit of your team's offensive flag momentum, or forcing the enemy to attack via a more difficult and time-wasting route, or whatever. And even with the "simplified" TF2 classes, the CTF mapstyle allows every class to make a huge difference in a correctly-played role, even solo at times (well, maybe not with medics). In contrast, I've spent the last few days playing only CP maps and have yet to come across an instance other than "win the team shootout, win the CP, win the match". Not one exception. And that's because CP matches are, at their heart, static team DM affairs with their design of winning/holding CPs (essentially, pitched must-win fights), rather than using fragging as a means to a different end -- flag movement. Sure, there are helpful solo things you can do on CP maps -- take out a sentry here, knife a medic there, build a teleporter -- but ultimately you are tied to your team's side since you cannot lose crucial fragfests and still win a CP map, whereas on CTF maps you could, say, pull off a brilliant flag run/relay even while your team is being slaughtered at the enemy's front door. Good team cohesion is a huge asset in both CTF and CP (and it's usually a coordinated team effort that breaks the enemy D on CTF), but creative, heroic solo play matters a lot more on CTF due to its decreased frag-emphasis (i.e. often simply the number of combatants), and brilliant play by a lone individual can turn the tides for an inferior team on CTF. On the other hand, on CP maps you're tied life-or-death to your team: just try to either capture an enemy CP or defend one of yours alone against a non-newbie enemy team. Go on. I've been on both sides of it on non-newbie pubs like the Ars and PA servers, and it's predictably ugly. And I've seen (and on occasion, even performed) this CTF difference enough times in TF2 and especially QWTF to recognize that fact.

On a CP map your options are very limited, especially if you venture out solo. Unless you grossly, grossly out-skill the other players, you're simply not going to turn around a team's local superiority/inferiority, and you will lose. Or you will ride it, and win. CP maps on pubs are randomized team affairs that encourage a slavish team cohesion (if you're lucky to have it) rather than individual initiative and heroism, and thus its gameplay is poorer for it. This is not to say that TF2 CP maps aren't fun, because TF2 itself is fun -- the class design is so superb, so full of personality, polish, and play balance that you could drop two teams into a square team DM room and it'd still be a rockin' good time. On the whole, however, after trying very hard the last few days to "like" TF2's CP maps, I still find that the CTF maps push my personal "fun" buttons so much better. So I hope to see some of you on Mach4 and other CTF maps, as well as on even better ones as they come along. Game on.
posted by DaShiv at 7:23 PM on December 10, 2007

I can't count the number of times I've helped turn my poorly-organized team things around on a pub because I as a soldier or demo kept the enemy sniper deck cleared for minutes at a time to give my team a chance to gather for a rally or to force the enemy to divert valuable defensive resources (even to the point of building sentries there, on a number of occasions), enabling victory elsewhere. Or lend my wrench to stop more newbish engineers from getting overrun and to unify and hold our team's defenses at our intel. Or to set up and defend a forward base with my teleporter that opens up a new front (for example, from a balcony) to allow us to overrun enemy defenses. Or to tenaciously defend a dropped flag with stickies until being rewarded with its safe return. Or to break up a stalemate by playing an aforementioned intel-moving spy. Or to defend my team's flimsy forward base as a spy-burning pyro. Or stay alive as medic long enough to break through their intel defense with an uber. And on and on.

Exactly the same for CP (except for the McGuffin of the flag), in my experience.

On a CP map your options are very limited, especially if you venture out solo. Unless you grossly, grossly out-skill the other players, you're simply not going to turn around a team's local superiority/inferiority, and you will lose. Or you will ride it, and win. CP maps on pubs are randomized team affairs that encourage a slavish team cohesion (if you're lucky to have it) rather than individual initiative and heroism, and thus its gameplay is poorer for it.

Couldn't disagree more. It's like we're playing different games in some ways.

But arguments about Team Fortress (any of the generations) inevitably grind down to a 'says you' versus 'oh yeah? says you' situation, so I'm happy to let you prefer CTF, while I prefer CP (but am happy to play a well-designed CTF map). I will note that you do seem to have both a strong lean towards the importance of individual, independent action, which seems counter to the spirit of the game. I'm sure I don't need to tell you it's your individual choices in the context of the rest of the players on your team (and the other one) that is important to success. That's as it should be -- you wanna be a hero, TF2 is probably not the game for you.

Which is an odd thing for me to say, because my focus has always been raw skill, one-on-one (or two-on-two) RA3 deathmatching in the past, something I've gotten too old and slow and out of practice for, which is one of the reasons that the exquisite team-oriented balance of TF2 appeals to me. It is precisely the fact that all of the heroic stuff you're talking about is at best transient in the flow of battle that appeals to me, because it's different from my old style of play.

That said, I still don't think CTF is inherently different (in the way you're describing it) in terms of either skill, strategy, tactics or just plain fun from CP. It's a different flavour, and different skills are called for, but from my point of view it's actually a more limited form of gameplay.

Like I said, though, it's all just Important Internet Opinions.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:03 PM on December 10, 2007

CTF is about moving and defending a dynamic objective, with the whole map being a canvas of routes and options for the drama to be played out across.

It's about that in some fine, spiritual sense; the problem with CTF (and with CP, and so on) is not what it can or should be but what it in practice is when butts get in seats and the game gets going. You have to have a way to (a) get your players to agree that dynamic hooah rambunction flag movement is the best thing going and (b) get them to support that idea in gameplay.

Fact is, some people enjoy a static setup—heavily defensive approaches to maps, waiting for the push of the well-established envelope, playing for the satisfaction of a good long hold and the thrilling will-it-or-won't-it twitch of the occasional breach. And part of that is that a player who is less skilled at aggressive flag-movement techniques is going to be more likely to play defensively because they're able to succeed at the latter and not the former, and being able to succeed in a role translates to fun.

It takes a lot of work from players willing to organize and command and explain to bring a novice, especially, over to the more challenging prospect of pushing into the enemy base on a suicide mission rather than pushing the enemy out of their base, and to keep trying at that and refining it while losing because they aren't defending the base like they know they can, say. It also takes a willing crowd. I think we've probably got both in pretty good standing with the mefi TF2 crew, but it remains something that takes active effort and explanation to make happen.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:40 AM on December 11, 2007

What we need to do FIRST is set up a voting system on maps in games, which will help suss out what people want to play rather than what people SHOULD be playing. Once the map vote system is in place we can see where that takes us, maybe add new maps to see how they are received, etc etc.

But I think we are handling this in a very MeFi way. Overthinking beans and whatnot. ;)

My personal choice has been for the CP maps because I've found the teamwork to be a lot more dynamic there than in a CTF map where it seems to be more about coordination than teamwork. Which is similar but not the same. YMWV though. But I actually quite like 2fort, so I'm a bit of an anomaly maybe.

I just like playing with you guys! VIRTUAL HUGS OMG
posted by tittergrrl at 9:44 AM on December 11, 2007

I have to echo what stavros has said, DaShiv; it's almost like we're not playing the same game.

The reason I am personally soured on 2fort on public servers is precisely the reason that you claim that CP maps are bad: lacking the ability to more easily get complete strangers of different skill levels working well together, the map tends to become a stalemate. All too often, I see masses of engineers on both sides just hunkering down and creating a wall of defense that only some seriously coordinated people could overcome, while neither side has any appreciable offensive skill or coordination.

In contrast, I have tended to see CP maps as far, far more dynamic. Even the lamented 5-point CP maps, I feel, do much better than 2fort, simply because there are degrees to the conquest. You can take (and lose) small parts of the battle, as opposed to it being all or nothing (e.g. "we got the intel" or not). Additionally, unlike CTF maps, the CP maps all either have a defined offensive and defensive side, or are designed such that excessive defense isn't really practical.

Put simply, CTF style maps are the only maps in which both sides have a vested interest in turtling, and to me (who is someone who has logged over twice as many hours as engineer as any other class, mind you), that often results in poor gameplay.
posted by tocts at 10:39 AM on December 11, 2007

I think tocts puts it well. DaShiv, it sounds like you're thinking in hardcore gameplay terms, where the MeFi server's been pretty casual. I think there's a decent amount of coordination going on, but not to the extent that'd see a team effect a successful 2Fort siege.

Personally, my favourite TF2 moments are usually in Hydro, during sudden death. I love sudden death in general, the tension and rethinking of strategies.
posted by picea at 12:46 PM on December 11, 2007

I've added two events to the Steam calendar for Wednesday. The first event starts at 7 pm London time. The second starts at 9 pm EST (to give the West coast folks a chance to get home). I realize it's hard to be flexible on the weekdays, so let's see how it goes.
posted by itchylick at 1:21 PM on December 11, 2007

ok, for real, we need a 360 coalition of tf2 players. please?
posted by shmegegge at 2:05 PM on December 11, 2007

Well, just to prove my point about the depth and variety of TF2, even with the meagre 6 maps, I had another long round of 2Fort last night, but something finally clicked while playing as Demoman (too many engineers as usual, but these ones were pretty competent): I found me a couple of good perches and played defence and absolutely locked down the place, and had a lot of fun. Would we have won if I hadn't? Who knows. But the team clicked and (this being one of the greatest aspects of the game) I really felt like we were consciously working together, rather than being a bunch of rugged individualist deskchair heros who happened to being wearing the same shirt colour, if you get my meaning. Heaps of fun.

I continue to love this game, and if anything, my love grows. It's unhealthy at my age. *shrug*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:56 PM on December 11, 2007

Here's a simple illustration. Let's say you're playing a CP map and your team has somehow allowed the enemy to build up 5 sentries around a CP you have to take. Your options, assuming the engineers are competent enough to shoot everything, kill spies while they sap then repair each others' guns, and have built their guns such in a way so that any approach forces you to take fire from at least 2 of them at once? You'd have to take the guns down one by one, probably with at least a couple of ubers, additional soldiers/demomen behind them, and quite a few people to break through -- almost certainly more than five. You need to outfrag the guns by taking them down. You need Brute Force. You have no options, since you simply cannot capture a CP without eliminating its defenders.

Now assume there are 5 sentries set up in the intel room of Mach4, 4 top level and 1 bottom level, with at least two guns each covering the approach from front door, staircase, and balcony. How many people do you need to break through? As it turns out, just three -- one ubered heavy pinning all the engineers behind the safety of their guns while they're occupied repairing them, one ubered medic rushing forward to draw all the guns' fires (they don't redirect once they've acquired their target), and one scout darting in, grabbing the intel, and darting back out to score. Finesse, creativity, and individual initiative wins out over brute force in CTF. QED.

How could one not love CTF in moments like those?

This is not theoretical: I was that medic. This was on a regular, unpassworded pub server -- the [-Q-] clan Mach4 server -- just last week, not some abstract tournament match play. And my team won thanks to the great play -- yes, heroics -- of few people, out of the 30 or so players on the server. (And it was totally unscripted/planned -- I always charge out in front to draw fire while ubering like any decent medic should, and the scout was simply waiting for a non-suicidal moment to rush in. Help your team along properly in CTF and things will come together on their own.) And we won not because we had amassed 12 people in through their front door and outswarmed our opposition in DM, as would've been the strategy on a CP map. Once you've been a seasoned CTF player and have seen or even participated in pulling off these against-the-odds stunts, you can't help but look at CP play as being simplistic DM at pitched points on the map, with its outcome almost wholly dictated by the randomness of pub teams.

Now of course the above Mach4 win was also a team effort: we had engineers securing the center of the map, teleporters advancing reinforcements, a forward base with teleporters and a pyro guarding against spies at the enemy front door, spies keeping the enemy defense paranoid, and a major coordinated offensive push up the stairs in an attempt to "brute force" the guns from the upper level (which is the conventional wisdom for breaking through multiple upstairs sentries on Mach4), which tied up the enemy heavy classes defensively. It was a mix of good solo play (spies, anti-spy pyro, engineers) and good cooperative play (the large stairs push and the three winning flag rushers) -- and many of the players on our side weren't even that skilled (which was one reason why our stairs push was making little traction). But in CTF, there is a multitude of roles that offers many, many options for helping your team along, both alone and alongside teammates, and even just one or a few of those roles played well can easily turn the game, like my group's flag capture did. Whereas in CP, you all rush A together as a team, then B (or vice versa) for optimal results, because you want the odds to be on your side when you DM at a CP. That's how you win a CP: Brute Force. Whereas the more skilled the CTF players, the less it's about brute force and the more it's about moving the flag and keeping that damn thing alive. And it only takes a handful of players -- sometimes even just one -- to "get it" to make the gameplay explode in CTF. Well-played CTF can sometimes be the triumph of vastly inferior firepower and is often simply a thing of beauty (which is why I highlighted particular great CTF moments in that TFDE video in my previous comment) and it saddens me to have people dismiss CTF without having seen how it really works first-hand. TF2 needs a "Breakthrough" achievement -- a flag touch after, say, 10 minutes of no flag touches for your team. Maybe that'll pound the idea of what CTF is about into the masses.

I think the two main problems some have with TF2 CTF are 2forts and general player incompetence/inexperience. 2forts was originally designed for QWTF, where player movements are very fast so the long flag path was necessary, and all classes could either conc or grenade jump (a medic can do both) to bypass chokes like the ramp room. In TF2, slow player movement makes the 2forts flag path arduously long, and 6/9 of the classes now can't bypass the ramp room at all. 2forts is great for nostalgia but far from optimal for TF2. Mach4 is a better map because there is a much shorter flag path (about the length from courtyard to courtyard in 2forts) and two distinct routes (top/bottom) into the intel for all 9 classes, with a third (balcony) open to soldiers, demomen, scouts (double jumping off of wall protrusion), and engineers (jumping from atop of their own sentry/dispenser -- balcony teleporters FTW). With reasonable players, there's never more than a few minutes at most between flag touches, even with 32 players on the map. Likewise, classic QWTF maps like well6 had 3 routes open to all classes (ground, rooftop, and water) and I'm waiting for more TF2 maps with multiple entries into intel and short flag paths to compensate for the much slower movement speed and the removal of conc/grenade jumps in TF2. Mach4 is a good start, and TF2 is still only a couple of months young.

The other is general playing skill. It takes very little skill to grasp the basics of CTF (newbies: follow the compass! defend the flag!), but many are bad at TF2's gameplay mechanics itself. Most players I've seen, for instance, have a lot of trouble taking out sentries with engineers repairing them. We need a new Protip about taking out the eng first: rocket splashing them to death (aiming past the sentry, not at it) while the engs swing their wrenches ineffectually at their sentries, and/or taking out their dispensers behind/beside them so that they run out of metal (it's quite expensive to repair without a dispenser nearby). A few of my worst nemeses as an eng were aggressive snipers -- bam, I'm dead, and my gun dies from any of a dozen reasons while I'm waiting to respawn. And when will more players learn that stickies are bar none the best sentry-removal (along with the eng and his dispenser) tool in the game, so please stop hiding behind them defensively and start using them offensively? Christ, demoman players, I don't even bother playing eng when there's a halfway decent offensive demoman on the other team, and on the few occasions I have trouble removing a sentry as a soldier I simply switch to demoman myself. As players get better over time, the sentry-lockdowns become less and less possible since sentries don't get any better with player skill. I've watched a couple of demos of TF2 CTF tourney matches and it's almost all scouts, soldiers, and medics. Turtling engineers in and of themselves never stand a chance against decent players -- and that's before even considering flag-specific strategies like intel-pushing spies and so on.

And newer players don't even realize that the turtling mentality is fatal. I remember the massive complaints about how Terrans were "cheap" or "unfair" because of bunker/tank turtling when Starcraft first came out (and to a much lesser extent, cannon/reaver/templar turtling); players who "got it" just laughed and mass expanded, winning through map control and strangling their opponents. Likewise in TF2, I see people switching to soldier/heavies against sentries and complaining that turtling engineers are too effective. But that's bashing your skull against a mountainside: you (and/or your teammates) need to switch to more engineers and medics. Yes, offensive engineers not only cut off the opponent to control the map (woe be to the team that allows their opponent to set up a forward base somewhere like atop the sewer stairs in 2forts) and provide mobility via teleporters, but their sentries protect an attacking force's rear and flanks from encirclement and allowing them to retreat instead of die, as well as supplying heavies/pyros with ammo and medics with health via the dispenser, all badly-needed and even more important to an attacking team than an eng's sentry itself. (By the way, the secret to being a great offensive engineer? Quick and ruthless pickup of dropped weapons from dead enemies and friendlies alike. At 100 metal apiece, it's the fastest way to get that sentry up to level 3, plus it's hilarious as an eng to follow behind ubered teammates to pick up the detritus. Dead enemy engies usually net a full 200 metal!) After soldier, engineer is my second most played class and the vast majority of it is offensively against turtling opponents (and doing it well allows for huge kill streaks, as I've previously showed -- defensive engineers don't rack up that kind of scoring and multiple dominations). Offensive engineers are extremely effective to rally your team against turtlers. And medics are self-explanatory for more map control by extending offensive reach: even without uber, a medic and a soldier are more effective against sentries than two soldiers simply because survivability and respawn times. Throw in uber and it's obviously a no-brainer. When the opposing side has four or five sentries, why aren't you going medic so that your team could have two, three, or even four medics to break through? And again, you can often just uber and run past the sentries to get to the flag! Especially in the 2fort ramp room, which you don't need to pass through again on your way out. Or you can uber through and turn around to attack the sentries from a different angle while your teammates attack from your original angle as well. There are tons of offensive possibilities with medics against turtlers.

I like facing a turtling team on CTF because as with Starcraft, victory is almost always inevitable against them, and that's why decent players don't stack their teams half full of engineers (especially when you get up to tournament play). I agree it slows down the pacing of CTF maps to a more soccer-like scoring speed, but just like soccer the action is not just about the 5 seconds before a goal is scored -- and once a turtler's defense is cracked, decent players will camp to prevent them from reestablishing while their faster teammates run nonstop flag relays for the win. So one advantage of CP maps might their quicker initial resolution for those who want faster (and IMO, much less meaningful) decisions. On the other hand, scout rushes often work all too well for the first CP on Granary and Well (and sometimes beyond that, depending on the adaptability of the opposing team -- and sometimes on entire rounds of Hydro too), even on when I play on password-protected community servers with better players. That a mass anything could be so effective is a terrible sign to me of the incongruities between class design and map playing style design on many CP maps (hell, a mass anything in any game is usually a design flaw), and scout rushes are really just using mobility to leverage what I was saying about CP maps being all about localized superiority/inferiority. And on pub CP play, strategies are limited to simplistic "Push" and "Swarm" team DM tactics. I'd rather play a duel map if all I wanted was to sharpen my DM skills.

In any case, I hope you'll have the opportunity to witness and create some fantastic CTF play out there in TF2-land. There are many, many reasons why CTF is a venerable and popular style across virtually all FPS platforms. QWTF was explicitly designed for CTF, and likewise I think CTF is where TF2 shines the brightest. Now please give us more CTF maps!
posted by DaShiv at 5:11 PM on December 11, 2007

Now please give us more CTF maps!

This, at least, I can go along with.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:23 PM on December 11, 2007

I'm not a big fan of 2fort. It's probably my least favorite map. In dozens of hours of play I've probably only seen the intelligence being carried by anyone on either team three or four times. I picked it up by accident on another server this weekend and had to backtrack across half the map back to my base because I didn't realize I had it. It just never crossed my mind as a possibility. I came across my team's dropped intelligence later in the same game and had to ask what to do because I'd never seen it in the wild before. It just feels with the intelligence dropped, intelligence picked up constantly in my ear and me seeing none of it that the game is happening away from me on that map.

I'm totally down with enjoying a coordinated team effort. But I never know who's going to be on my team on the next map, CP or CTF on the Mefi server. I like the loose nature of the play that provides and I'd hate to see little cliques forming just to capture a flag.
posted by Cyrano at 7:45 PM on December 11, 2007

(Now, if a hardcore group of Mefites wanted to team up and work out strategy to use against other people on other servers, I'd be all for that.)
posted by Cyrano at 7:49 PM on December 11, 2007

I want to do this. Get all tight and gnarly and mind-readerly with our teamwork, then just go pwn the shit outta people as a group. Me? Overcompetitive?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:59 PM on December 11, 2007

Stav and Cyrano... count me in. It would be fun to get a tournament going with other sites.

Take that MonkeyFilter!
posted by tittergrrl at 8:06 PM on December 11, 2007

Yeah, I'd like that too. Is there like an amateur bowling league for TF2 tournaments, that doesn't feature the vein-popping-in-forehead, ultra-competitive set?
posted by picea at 8:19 PM on December 11, 2007

A MetaFilter clan? Hmmm.

[MeFi] itchylick
posted by itchylick at 6:51 AM on December 12, 2007

I was playing last night with Gamers With Jobs. They seem like a nice enough group and have a locked server. Here is the thread to request an invite. If they get pissed off about a bunch of MeFites taking over, it wasn't my idea. BTW my Steam ID is now the more pronounceable "Royski."
posted by exogenous at 7:42 AM on December 12, 2007

Knaves! The middle of finals week, in the middle of my final article for journalism, and you have the audacity to alert me to a MeFi TF2 match?

Have you no decency?

Very tempting, I must say, but I suppose I'll be joining you on Saturday, per usual, when finals are over at last.

Also, is anyone else seeing this weird bug in the thread? Ethereal Bligh's username keeps showing up as DaShiv. Must be some database issue.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:10 AM on December 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'd do a MeFi team, but we have to be the Blue team wherever we play. Anything else would just be insulting to Metafilter.
posted by chundo at 12:34 PM on December 12, 2007

here's a place to form a team and play against other teams, you pc loving jerks.

gamebattles for tf2 on pc.

disclosure, I work for, who is a partner with gamebattles.
posted by shmegegge at 1:12 PM on December 12, 2007

I am thinking about getting the orange box for the 360 so I can play it with people on there too since people keep bugging me about it.

Or you guys can get it for me. oh yeah.

PC FPS is where it's at though.
posted by tittergrrl at 1:48 PM on December 12, 2007

Well, there may not be a mefi clan, but I'm wearing the MeFi tag anyway. Har. Also, it seems than in regular rotation, we don't see enough 2fort in a days play - which tends to be in 2-3 hour windows, max - to really judge how we play them or respond to them as a group.
posted by absalom at 7:08 PM on December 12, 2007

For the first skool night game (unless you live in one of those Thursday and Friday are your weekend countries,) I thought we did pretty well. I don't think we ever crested five players per team but it was still fun. That number is normally when the Saturday games start to die, but that's usually after going from around a dozen players on down after the afore mentioned two to three hours.
posted by Cyrano at 8:44 PM on December 12, 2007

I'm posting now as evidence of why I bagged out so early. Looking forward to next time...
posted by exogenous at 3:36 AM on December 13, 2007

*changes clan tag (which previously read [BeeR]) to [MeFi]*

Bring it!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:27 AM on December 13, 2007

I played for an entire 90 seconds. Just enough time to try out the new "clan" tag. It seemed like you all had a good match going with just 11 people though. Shall we give it another go next Wednesday at the same time?

(I'm not sure if anyone showed to the 7 pm London game. There didn't appear to be anyone on the server about an hour after it would have started).
posted by itchylick at 6:58 AM on December 13, 2007

Shall we give it another go next Wednesday at the same time?
Works for me. Hopefully we can get more players to help cover for my ineptitude (getting run over by the train, getting dominated by a medic, etc. etc.).
posted by exogenous at 7:47 AM on December 13, 2007

Thought this was interesting: Someone over at CGTalk has been working on some TF2 female model concepts. Particularly of interest are the images at the top of the page here and here.
posted by itchylick at 8:06 AM on December 13, 2007

Btw, I am now using [MeFi] tittergrrl as my name in TF2 also. And YAY FEMALE MODELS!

Especially female models with the same voices.
posted by tittergrrl at 8:45 AM on December 13, 2007

I would much rather the voice of the female medic be some husky, dominating frauline, but that's just one man's opinion.

So, now that we have a few people wearing the [MeFi] tag, is it time to start some off site message board for MeFight Club, maybe get some unoffical or highly decentralized MeFi clan going?
posted by absalom at 8:48 AM on December 13, 2007

I've been wanting to create a or something for a while. Maybe this is a reason.

Or Gamingfilter like sports filter or something. I dunno.

But I'd love to. I wanna reset up my server too so this might be a reason for it.
posted by tittergrrl at 10:36 AM on December 13, 2007

That's a great idea, tittergrrl. I think there'd be a decent-sized audience for that.
posted by picea at 12:01 PM on December 13, 2007

By the way, the second TF2 megathread at SA is currently up to 408 pages. Not sure if it's publicly viewable without an account, but here's the link. There're quite a lot of good strategy tips and links there. See also the TF2wiki for some useful scripts and stuff (I like the single-key voice menu rotator). has a lot of sprays and other stuff, some of it good. Quarter to Three is also good for game talk, with lots of people in the business, and registration was recently opened to all.

Anybody else got any links to good TF2 stuff? I can't get enough!

Last night I was on a server in China that I hit up sometimes, and there were 3 or 4 other English native speakers there (a couple in Japan and one in Vietnam). What a difference it makes when you can actually talk/text to other people on your team and strategize a bit, rather than just reading the flow of the game and going best-guess. We owned. Whee!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:49 PM on December 13, 2007

This video is pretty funny griefing from Tf2wiki
posted by clarkie666 at 7:21 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Nice post clarkie666, that video is great.

So are we supposed to clan up as [MeFi]?
posted by Argyle at 7:41 PM on December 13, 2007

I was in the Steam store thing for some reason and I noticed there were manuals there. So I was curious to see if there is a TF2 manual, and I found the 6-page Sentry Operating Manual.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:55 PM on December 13, 2007

Wow, that video reminds me why I jumped servers so many times until I found a few good ones, and why I tend to not venture out on pubs much. Griefers are the worst. The video was instructional though, in what NOT to do - thanks for linking it.

I wish they would allow you to change your in-game name to be something else than your Steam ID page. I'd be up for wearing the [MeFi] tag in TF2 and playing more seriously with ya'll, but I would be yelled at by 90% of my friends if I changed my "official" tag that I've been wearing since 2002...
posted by gemmy at 8:08 PM on December 13, 2007

Ok, I've joined the [MeFi] clan.
posted by chundo at 11:12 PM on December 13, 2007

The "unpleasant sprays" part of that video cracks me up (well, the whole thing does.) Especially the sniper doing the double-take coming out of the teleport.
posted by Cyrano at 11:28 PM on December 13, 2007

I'm going to be enjoying delicious frosty beer and TF2 for a few hours (all hail Friday evening!) starting in about two hours, so if anyone's around and in pinging distance of the Asian servers I tend to hang out on, keep your eye peeled for [MeFi] elcraptastico. That'd be me. Hell, I'll even follow you to a server closer to you once I'm all lit up if you want, because by that point all the pleasantly misfiring synapses will be messing up my game worse than a measly few score milliseconds.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:32 PM on December 13, 2007

Man, I keep reading the comments about how great TF2 is, but what the hell is up with the 360 version? It seems like it usually finds very few servers, the ones listed as having one open slot are always full, and crippling lag is all too common. It makes me sad. And I feel my CoD4 skills atrophying.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:46 PM on December 13, 2007

what the hell is up with the 360 version?

I dunno nuthin' bout no consoles. But here, may this'll make you feel better: Saving Private Ryan, TF2 style.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:03 AM on December 14, 2007

stavros: I'll be there once I get out of work today, but you probably be gone. I counted six [MeFi] tags in the group last night, it might have grown. I'm seriously considering throwing up a bboard on my server so the MeFiTF2Crew can have some sort of discussion outside of this one thread. Good idea? Bad idea?

Also: I watched that SPR/TF2 mashup on tittergrrl's site and thought it was fantastic. I still think it's fantastic.
posted by absalom at 5:41 AM on December 14, 2007

what the hell is up with the 360 version?
I play on the PC, while my husband prefers the 360 version, and he has the same complaints. I think it's a problem with the peer-to-peer hosting model that's part of the Xbox Live setup. Even with the number of players cut down from the PC version, it's just not robust enough for the game most of the time, which is why there is a lot of lag. Then the fact that it's laggy is cutting down on people playing, so there are not as many games going on at any one time, and it makes it hard to play. It's a downward spiral, unfortunately.

Thanks for the SPR/TF2 mashup, btw. That was awesome!
posted by gemmy at 9:40 AM on December 14, 2007

I dunno, I think for now we should still be using this thread at least for major updates and what not.

However, if we want a separate board for more indepth discussions and what not, might be a good idea.

I really will need to play this weekend after today at work. Grrr.
posted by tittergrrl at 1:07 PM on December 14, 2007

Awright punks, I've finally gotten around to fixing things up. Mods are being made to the server now for mapvoting, and I've added several new maps to try out. Testing in progess.
posted by herrdoktor at 1:20 PM on December 14, 2007

posted by tittergrrl at 1:31 PM on December 14, 2007

Thanks herrdoktor!
posted by clarkie666 at 2:15 PM on December 14, 2007

Wheee!! Thanks herrdoktor. Hope to see you on the server one of these Saturdays?
posted by gemmy at 2:19 PM on December 14, 2007

Oh this is gonna be fun. He's uploading castle, lazytown, etc.
posted by itchylick at 2:56 PM on December 14, 2007

Ok, here's the deal:
- added a bunch of maps
- added vote ability ("votemap" or "rockthevote")
- shortened respawn times a bit
- maps d/l automatically from a host of mine: should be fast, but the problem is that the progress bar-o-meter within the game is kinda borked and moves slowly. The map itself has been compressed, and the game uncompresses it on the fly. Anyway, be patient!

Can't think of anything else. Dropped total # of flag caps for win on CTF maps to 3, total time for each map is 30 minutes. Can vote for maps anytime, but no more often than every two minutes. The rockthevote command differs from the votemap command in that it doesn't list every map available.

Anyway, still adding a few maps. Post up requests here, or PM me via MeMail.

Oh. Right. And sudden death now should result in a melee battle.
I'll be around. Game tomorrow?
posted by herrdoktor at 3:26 PM on December 14, 2007

Test match added to Steam calendar to start at 7:30pm EST tonight (in about 40 min). Drop by if you can to help test out the new mod.
posted by itchylick at 3:49 PM on December 14, 2007

lazytown = <3!
posted by tittergrrl at 4:12 PM on December 14, 2007

great changes doktor! that was fun to test!
posted by tittergrrl at 5:22 PM on December 14, 2007

Ok, things seem to be working. Put the spawntimer back to default.

To save yourself some time, I strongly recommend downloading and installing the custom maps ahead of time.
Uncompress the files below, and install all .bsp and associated .txt files to:
C:/Program Files/Steam/steamapps/[YourAccountNameHere]/team fortress 2/tf/maps/

Here are the maps:

You may need 7-zip to uncompress these: download 7-zip here.

Alternatively, you have the option of downloading from my host, which apparently resides somewhere in the vincinity of Jupiter. It's automatic, but you might miss out on the first several minutes of every map you don't already have.

Any questions/complaints/concerns, PM me here.
posted by herrdoktor at 5:45 PM on December 14, 2007

Damn. That's more new maps than I was expecting. I'm probably going to have more than a few Towelie moments tomorrow.

Poked around a little on mach2. Jebus, that map is small. We might as well start off sitting in each others laps.
posted by Cyrano at 5:57 PM on December 14, 2007

Oh. Right. And sudden death now should result in a melee battle.

I really hate melee sudden death (too gimmicky), but my opinion hardly matters, as I never seem to be awake or around when there are people on the server anyway.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:18 PM on December 14, 2007

There were a couple others who shared the same opinion with you, stavros. Howzabout we give it a shot? Easy nuff to set it back. Will leave it to the people to decide. I'm just an administrator.

With a flamethrower.
posted by herrdoktor at 7:41 PM on December 14, 2007

Yeah, it'll be fun to try out some new things. Even if we end up axing them in the end *rimshot*.
posted by itchylick at 8:04 PM on December 14, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, this game is fun.
posted by Faux Real at 2:11 PM on December 15, 2007

That was fun, but I didn't like some of the new maps. And once the voting booted us from a map just as we were starting, which was lame. But otherwise awesome!
posted by exogenous at 2:20 PM on December 15, 2007

Took out a few of the clunkers:
Removed Castle, Powerhouse, Quarry and Overflow.
Remaining: Mach2(small, fast, CTF), Turbine (medium, fun, CTF), and Warpath (TC, old-school map), Lazytown (TC, fun, except for the part where Olli gets onto rooftops as a solider).

Spawntimers are standard, and dynamic.
Melee-only for Sudden Death.

To change maps: "Rockthevote," and it'll select the next map at round end.
"Votemap" will bring up a list for immediate map change.
Otherwise, "nextmap" will show what the next map will be. I'd suggest not doing too much changing of the maps, cuz it gets annoying and people can play through the maps we've got. "Timeleft" shows remaining time left in the map.

Hope to see more of you guys @ 8pm EST! Gonna go to my pre-match pro-cyberathlete eating and stretching routine.
posted by herrdoktor at 4:05 PM on December 15, 2007

Err, something is kinda broke. Nobody can spawn.
posted by Cyrano at 5:12 PM on December 15, 2007

I'm having a really annoying low grade lag issue. Seems like all players are just slightly lagging to me.
posted by Big_B at 6:11 PM on December 15, 2007

That was heaps of fun -- sorry if my 300 ping was crapping up the server somehow. Short but sweet, and hell, somehow I got an intel cap on mach2!

I really like playing with people who speak the same language as me.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:17 PM on December 15, 2007

Wha? I like Castle, Powerhouse, and Quarry, and I'm curious to try Overflow. If we've got a voting system, why not leave them in & see what happens?
posted by muckster at 8:49 PM on December 15, 2007

The one time I miss a MeFi TF2 session, the wonder chicken shows up... :(

Sounds like you had fun. The earlier game certainly was, and I liked the new maps. I wish people could have let us play at least two rounds on certain maps without voting, but it's all good. I particularly liked both mach2 and lazytown, so yeeay for keeping them. Did we say thanks again, herrdoktor, for providing us with a server? If not, thanks!
posted by gemmy at 11:23 PM on December 15, 2007

I like Castle, too, but given that the total number of new maps added was >50% of the old ones, the sheer ugliness of some of the newer maps, and the fact that they're being hosted on another server of mine, I cut some of them.

Figure I'd give some of the newer folks a chance to get used to playing the game, and keep the maps that seem to be better designed and more focused.

Lastly, I also wanted to avoid repetitive mapvoting.
posted by herrdoktor at 12:09 PM on December 16, 2007

Makes sense to me. Thanks for all you do, herrdoktor.
posted by muckster at 4:26 PM on December 16, 2007

By the way, because someone on the server (sorry, I forget who) was asking about ping (and why mine was over 300 coming from Korea, the Land Of Bandwidth): it is all about geography, basically. Ping time is the basically just the literal round-trip time for a packet to get from you to wherever the server that you're pinging is. I've seen in the 200ms range from Korea to North America sometimes, but never less, that I can recall, which makes sense when you think of the distances involved and the physical limitations.

Even with my 100Mb firehose connection to the net at home, no matter how many packets I can push and receive, there's still a speed-of-light/distance/network topology limitation to how quickly one of those packets can get to [wherever the server is] and back, which is why I play games mostly on servers here in Korea.

The great bane of my gaming existence was that I got clan-joining seriousish about gaming back in the Quake 2/Rocket Arena 2 days when I lived in Korea and Australia, and it was just not feasible to play anywhere but there (and with 200+ pings on dialup), then Quake 3/Rocket Arena 3 in Australia and back in Korea (with better bandwidth, but still ping issues), and now am getting stuck in to TF2 in a fun but competitive kinda way, and am still in Korea, now with massive bandwidth, but with most servers not really playable for me if they're outside NEAsia. My round-trip to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore aren't too bad, though, and Japan and China are totally playable.

The problem with high ping, of course, is that with games that require some degree of twitchiness and speed, a couple of hundred milliseconds will completely throw off your game. There are some slower classes in TF2 (engineer, say, or heavy weapons guy) that make it almost playable, but trying a mid-air flick-shot with a railgun in RA3 is a lost cause at anything more than a ping of 50ms or so.

The odd thing is that I got so good at compensating for being a high-ping bastard in RA2 way back when, like 10 years ago, that it was hard to untrain myself when I finally got off dialup!

Also, unrelated, and just in case it helps somebody, after more than a year of having a Logitech mouse (the G5, which is older, but rocks) with adjustable report rates, I finally figured out how to set it up properly for gaming -- max out the report rate, and lower the sensitivity with the in-game control options setting. It's probably bumped up my shot accuracy by about 30%! Yay!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:58 PM on December 16, 2007

By the way, if anybody's interested in the kind of wacky stuff I was talking about w/r/t Quake 3 tricks, have a look at this movie (or any of the others -- it's a pretty popular genre). I'm nowhere near that good, and just don't have the mad skills anymore to compete with the Korean guys who have skills like this (which seem to be most of the people still playing the game), which is one of the reasons I'm so happy to have found a new game that I really enjoy, which doesn't require amphetamines (or young reflexes) to play well.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:10 PM on December 16, 2007

Back in my glory days of being an online champion of the galaxy, it was thought that people with high pings affected the latency of other players. Something about packet syncing and fancy-pants whatevermahickeys.

However, I don't believe this is true anymore, if it ever was. Last game I was seriously competitive in was RTCW: ET, and I remember that one of the programmers basically came out and said that this wasn't true.

Whatever the case is, rest assured that I won't be setting anything server-side to kick HPB/Ws. Your points on settings for accuracy are right on target: I urge anyone who is considering a career in professional cyberathletism to crank their sensitivity down as much as possible, gradually, and over a period of time. Really. It works wonders. Or set one of the newfangled gaming mice to change report rates for combat/non-combat settings.

While I'm at it, here are some additional tips to improve the quality of your gameplay and quantity of gibbage:
- obviously, become familiar with the maps
- no, really. Explore every nook and cranny: there are some great places to hide teleporters!
- remember that you can rotate engineer blueprints before you place a sentry/dispenser/etc. This will aid you in placing guns facing the correct direction, and your teleporters in such a way that your allies will be facing the battlefield instead of a wall. Or, you know, your own base
- placing engineer structures against a wall or in a corner isn't always the best thing to do: splash damage makes it easier to destroy such things, as the enemy doesn't have to aim perfectly
- enemy spies can't walk through engineer structures, and they can't walk through you: if your movement is seemingly obstructed by thin air, whip that wrench out!
- when you're running around looking for more supplies/metal as a base defense engineer, whip that wrench out!
- if you're bored and covering a doorway/corridor, and you think the enemy already suspects your presence, shoot into the doorway/corridor! Spies will flash red/blue briefly, if hit while cloaked
- pyros or heavies stuck on defense or eating pizza: sit by a dispenser and hold that fire button down! You've essentially got unlimited ammo, which makes for unlimited awesome, and you make cool noises as a commie.

Finally, a couple more tips on how to really be awesome:
1. Remember the "E" key. Press it repeatedly as you enter combat. Not only will you confuse the stupider of your foes, you will also anger them as they call for a medic by mocking them.
2. Remember the "G" key. Press it immediately after you gib someone, so that they can see just how awesome you are when they see who nailed them.

Good fun the other day. Hope you play with you guys more often!
posted by herrdoktor at 6:53 PM on December 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

- enemy spies can't walk through engineer structures, and they can't walk through you: if your movement is seemingly obstructed by thin air, whip that wrench out!

Putting a dispenser at the entrance to the spiral ramp, just outside in the spawn in 2Fort, is a recent strategy I've seen to take advantage of this. Messes spies up, which is always good. I hate spies.

- pyros or heavies stuck on defense or eating pizza: sit by a dispenser and hold that fire button down! You've essentially got unlimited ammo, which makes for unlimited awesome, and you make cool noises

I love doing this, especially as a Heavy. If the engineer has placed the dispenser right, you can totally lock down some entrances to a given area, while keeping spies away from the sentry farm.

1. Remember the "E" key. Press it repeatedly as you enter combat.

I've had my best (pointwise) rounds playing Medic and have played the class a lot, and I've got to say people who mash the E key annoy me a bit, at least once combat has begun. If you don't need a medic, don't hit it, I say! I need to be able to find folks who really need help...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:51 PM on December 16, 2007

I hate spies as well, although I suspect if I learned to play one it would probably be my second favorite class. I so dearly love setting people on fire. I need help, don't I?

and I've got to say people who mash the E key annoy me a bit

I would really suggest people rebind the "Medic!!!" key. Generally I hit it when I'm flailing and trying to hit the "R" to reload. And the medics on the Mefi server are why we will kick all kinds of ass once we get our competition on. You don't need to call them. They just know.

Which is a royal pain in the ass when the teams reshuffle, but so is life.
posted by Cyrano at 10:36 PM on December 16, 2007

I would really suggest people rebind the "Medic!!!" key. Generally I hit it when I'm flailing and trying to hit the "R" to reload.

Heh. I do that all the time too, and feel sheepish when a there's a medic nearby, especially if he turns and looks at me there all 100-percenty and I imagine him going 'Do not waste my time, danke bitte, scheissekopf!'

OK, so also, (and not to steal any thunder from tittergrrl (I have too much free time and too little to do with it here in the office)) I figured I might throw up a quick forum for us to use, if you guys and gals are interested, just to talk about the game and get all clanlike and stuff, if you want.

MeFight Club is here, on one of my (too) many domains. You should be able to create a user account and login right away, I think. It's Vanilla forum, so it's pretty simple and streamlined, but I've added a few extensions to make it more happyfriendly, like Atom feeds and stuff.

I thought it might be useful to talk about strategy and tips and share info and plan the utter demise of other clans and post amusing screenshots and plan games and all of that. These threads are good (and this one's getting huge!), but I thought it'd be good too to have a dedicated forum for Team MeFi, even if we do continue to use MeTa to periodically announce that we've got games scheduled (and until such time as Matt blesses us with a gaming subsite). I thought about starting a project to build a MeFi clone just for gaming, as discussed upthread, but I figured a couple hours getting Vanilla setup and tweaked was low investment for high utility, maybe. I'd still like to do something like that, but not this week. Heh.

So yeah. Sign up if you want, and let's see if it's useful. If not, no big deal, but if so, then yay and hooray!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:06 PM on December 16, 2007

Thanks for all the work herrdoktor - this is a fun group. I'll miss the next month of games (sniff) while in Africa, but I'll kill you all when I get back!
posted by chundo at 8:53 AM on December 17, 2007

I really wanna play again during the week but I can't do it wednesday or tuesday. :(

Hey tonight! ;)
posted by tittergrrl at 9:09 AM on December 17, 2007

Hey Stav, your ping was hovering around 300 when you joined, but I noticed towards the end of the night that it was around 24, so not sure what that was all about. Either way, I didn't experience any lag.
posted by itchylick at 11:58 AM on December 17, 2007

Also, thanks for the tips wonderchicken and herrdoktor. Keep 'em coming.
posted by itchylick at 12:01 PM on December 17, 2007

herrdoktor, I can't get on the server. It always loads 2fort but then kinda does the thing like we had last week where no one could spawn. And there's some >8> lookin' thing that pops up on the screen.

Is this just a me thing?
posted by Cyrano at 4:05 AM on December 18, 2007

I got that too, with two people on (one on each team)... thought maybe it was set to require more players?
posted by exogenous at 5:21 AM on December 18, 2007

I hope not. I've been on the Mefi server by myself a few times. I'm so alone... It's a nice way to practice stuff before going on a pub and making a fool of yourself.
posted by Cyrano at 7:05 AM on December 18, 2007

True, I used to go solo on the MeFi server too, which was nice for learning maps and stuff. Yesterday I discovered that selecting "Developers Commentary" (or something similar) from the main menu of TF2 is a nice way to play around (on the three maps they have available there). Plus there is no countdown timer to worry about. I wonder if there is a way to practice like that on other maps.
posted by exogenous at 7:46 AM on December 18, 2007

The admin mod has occasional issues. I've reset the server and will perform further testing later tonight or early tomorrow. Hope it works!
posted by herrdoktor at 2:27 PM on December 18, 2007

Hooray I can actually play in the Wednesday melee tonight! My plans changed! Hopefully I won't be alone! ;)
posted by tittergrrl at 1:50 PM on December 19, 2007

Well hey, it was enjoyable being cannon fodder tonight. I'll see if I can jump in on the early Saturday game as well so I can get dominated some more.
posted by dw at 11:52 PM on December 19, 2007

Some issues that came up:
- server gets stuck such that people can't spawn. If this happens, one of the admins has to restart the server
- the map timer expired on Lazytown, and the map should've changed. In the event it doesn't change, the server must be restarted or one of the teams has to win. We forced a win last night to switch maps versus rebooting. The map seems fun, so I don't want to pull it from the rotation yet
- singing is encouraged

It might be worthwhile to allow people to invite a couple of friends to play if the server isn't filling up. I'd hate for this to get out of control, though, with MeFiers being outnumbered. You guys can decide on this. I'm not going to be able to administer to the server for the next several days.

This msg. will be cross-posted to the super-rad MeFite Club forum.
posted by herrdoktor at 11:36 AM on December 20, 2007

singing is encouraged

posted by tittergrrl at 12:29 PM on December 20, 2007

Yes, but do you also have The Power?

'Cause if not then it's all Hot Rod and no Rodimus.
posted by Cyrano at 5:56 PM on December 20, 2007

Super-rad forum is super dead at the moment; not sure why. I think it might be hosting issues, but I'm investigating...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:29 PM on December 20, 2007

Yaar. It's back.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:55 PM on December 20, 2007

I was just reminded how much I hate the public servers.

posted by tittergrrl at 8:10 PM on December 20, 2007

Yes, I hate them too. There always seems to be at least one giant a-hole barking out orders and screaming at medics to "learn how to heal". The key is to take a deep breath ... let it out slowly ... then connect to the mefi server where you can cry alone.
posted by itchylick at 8:10 AM on December 21, 2007

I just found out recently, after getting mic-spammed by a teammate, that you can mute individual players! Very handy for the berserko whiny-asses, too.
posted by picea at 10:13 AM on December 21, 2007

Can anyone connect to the server? I get disconnected immediately.
posted by exogenous at 11:00 AM on December 22, 2007

looks like its down.
posted by tittergrrl at 11:06 AM on December 22, 2007

it's working now!
posted by exogenous at 11:08 AM on December 22, 2007

I am sorry. I was in a Civ4 game and did not notice the server was crashed. I rebooted and it looked like a few people got going in the afternoon. The evening game went well, in that I had fun and that's really all that matters.

I noticed another TF2 thread in the blue. Auspicious.
posted by absalom at 1:18 AM on December 23, 2007

I love it when people play under their MeFi names because then I can go "DaShiv? I blasted that guy once!"

Mmm, community.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:10 PM on December 23, 2007

It might be worth taking out the BeetleMod. The only reason I'm using it is for its mapvote/rockthevote thing, and the all-melee sudden death modes, features I could live without.

Maybe there's a fix or new version for Lazytown's borked teleporters and mapchange thing.

Whatever you froods wanna do, I'm game.

As a side note: I liked everyone's tags! Superfun.
posted by herrdoktor at 9:48 PM on December 24, 2007

There is a lazytown fix I hear!
posted by tittergrrl at 2:43 PM on December 25, 2007

I think the mapvote is good and all-melee sudden death is bad. One man's opinion.
posted by absalom at 6:22 PM on December 25, 2007

Mapvote's OK, although if the maps are chosen from the pool of Valve maps and some quality custom maps, I'm pretty much always OK with practicing skills on any map (and even came to like Warpath I think it was, the second time it came up in that epic 5-hour session last weekend). Not a fan of of melee sudden death, but I've found that sudden death rounds are almost always not long enough, anyway. I like the idea that sudden death forces new strategies to be formulated on the fly (no respawn, so teleporters are useless, for one example), but only if it actually ends in a capture.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:51 PM on December 25, 2007

Merry Xmas - I baked you a cookie.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:03 AM on December 26, 2007

The server! She is locked up!

Can't seem to get out of a "waiting for players" timer... its down to 0 but doesn't activate even when there are enough people for a game (3 vs 3).

Wha Happen?!
posted by tittergrrl at 6:13 PM on December 26, 2007

Oh a rockthevote fixed it. It's all good!
posted by tittergrrl at 6:46 PM on December 26, 2007

I would just like to say that after getting home three hours late from a delayed Four Shrieking Babies Airlines flight, finding some people still on the server and being able to blow off some steam (heh...) was a most welcome relief.
posted by Cyrano at 10:35 PM on December 26, 2007

I had a great time last night! There were six of us around 9pm and when I stopped around 11:30 there were about 16 people on the server. Thanks to all those who made it happen!
posted by furtive at 6:52 AM on December 27, 2007

Yeah, last night was super fun. The defense of the second part of Dustbowl will go down in history as a testament to good teamwork. It was amazing.
posted by tittergrrl at 10:59 AM on December 27, 2007

Bummer. Not sure what time it was here, but I had a) work or b) a work dinner.

I am on a four-day weekend starting later today though, so let's schedule some action on the Steam community thingy, yeah?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:04 PM on December 27, 2007

Looks like I missed some fun games during my marathon family gathering, but I'm looking forward to some TF2 when I get home tomorrow! Bring it on!! ;)
posted by gemmy at 4:16 PM on December 28, 2007

Server's been updated.
Please see post here for details!
posted by herrdoktor at 3:32 PM on December 31, 2007

The server is locked on Mach3 right now - it tells you your copy of the map differs from the servers and boots you.
posted by chundo at 1:24 PM on January 19, 2008

posted by herrdoktor at 4:12 PM on January 19, 2008

Hello. I popped in last night and had fun. Mach 3 is a great CTF map. I'd also recommend Stronghold B5 or Hall of Death (though the latter is more of a pure deathmatch map). -- FLOOR_MASTER.
posted by rmannion at 2:47 AM on January 21, 2008




That would have been so cool had I, ummmm, meant to do it.

Last night was way wicked.
posted by Samizdata at 4:27 PM on January 21, 2008

Plug: Keep in mind that MeFight club is alive and kicking if you want to talk all things TF2. We're up over 50 members yay!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:47 PM on January 21, 2008

And you haven't seen me there?
posted by Samizdata at 2:52 PM on January 22, 2008

Uh, yeah. Yeah, I noticed you just signed up. My comment was also directed at the general populace. That's why it was a 'plug'. Sheesh.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:17 PM on January 22, 2008

The sentry farm will live in infamy!!! Well played.... well played...
posted by gemmy at 9:12 PM on January 23, 2008

This message posted on behalf of herrdoktor:

Any and all people interested in participating in the 1st MeFi Tournament of Champions, please reply to this thread (registration required):

1. Your name
2. Whether or not you would be willing to be a team captain
3. Your professional cyberathletic bioawesombility ranking and rating score.

If you have not yet received rating, do not worry: you will be assessed and scored during the tournament.
If you have not been assigned a rank, please assign one to yourself and submit it under this thread.

The responsibilities of team captain will include picking out your team, supplying them with weapons and maintaing high troop morale and discipline. You may assign other duties and roles, such as Beverage Chief and Minister of Insults, to your teammates if you wish.

Once I get a total number of players, I'll lay down the policies and procedures for the tournament.

posted by itchylick at 8:16 AM on January 30, 2008

For my Gaming MeFi peeps: Soldier/Soulja Boy video
posted by Argyle at 12:54 PM on January 31, 2008

I made this to put on your Steam Picture.

It can just be added to your existing picture, as seen in my image.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:48 PM on February 7, 2008

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