Thursday, June 25, 2009

Spah Sappin' Mah Poll!

I glance away for a moment and, out of the corner of my eye, I spot movement. A puff of smoke, perhaps a blur of color. I look directly at it quickly and nothing is there.

I scroll up the page and check on the poll. Which class is the reader favorite? I see the results, gasp, and immediately know that something has gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Poll Results
Spy- 64 votes (31%)
Medic- 23 votes (11%)
Scout- 22 votes (10%)
Pyro- 21 votes (10%)
Soldier- 19 votes (9 %)
Sniper- 17 votes (8%)
Engineer- 16 votes (7%)
Demoman- 14 votes (6%)
Heavy- 9 votes (4%)

This should be a close one! Why wasn't there a nine-way tie? And why in the world is the Medic, whose job was referred to by as "joyless service," in second place? Isn't it supposed to be boring to play Medic? Apparently not.

Still, this oddity pales in comparison to the strangest thing of all: the Spy managed to take the victory with 41 votes and 20% over the nearest competitor. Why is this odd? Because most of the other classes did not receive half of that number of votes and most didn't reach that much percent.

This poll has been messed around with, and I am sure the Spy has something to do with it. Wait, what's that behind me?


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Adapting To Survive and THRIVE

Many of you are probably keeping track of all things Valve in the last couple weeks.

For one thing, Left 4 Dead 2 is coming out on November 17, less than a year after the release of the first one. I, who never bought the first one but played it a couple times, was happy to hear this and I plan on buying it as soon as I can after its release.

Maybe you are one of those 32,000 people who have joined that cute boycotting group. Undoubtedly, that resolution won't last more than a few hours after seeing the first reviews.

I can see it now. In one day, 30,000 leave the group to go play their new favorite game. Good luck with Valve taking boycotting groups too seriously after that.

But I can't deny they have made a hilariously clever picture for themselves.

If you have been paying closer attention to Valve's noteworthy news, you have also stumbled across this wonderful interview by now. I highly suggest reading the entire thing if you haven't yet.

For the first time, Valve revealed a very specific tidbit of information regarding the update process of any game that has to go through Microsoft. That being, any required content following release must be 8 MB or less.

Which means, in essence, that there would be no possible way to ensure every player of Team Fortress 2 on the Xbox 360 would have all the unlockable weapons. I don't even think basic gameplay alterations to Team Fortress 2 on the PC version totals less than 8 MB.

Knowing this, and also knowing that Microsoft is unlikely to change their entire update process for one company leads me to think that a fresh start is in order.

To get right to the point, I think that Valve should release Team Fortress 2 over Xbox LIVE on November 17, 2009.

This would be an excellent move for Valve, using the hype surrounding Left 4 Dead 2 to promote their major multiplayer game, perhaps even adding incentive for purchase, such as 50% off Team Fortress 2 if they own Left 4 Dead 2.

But, since the patch size for the game would be so small, it would have to built without any problems and under the assumption that no major changes could be made afterward, especially not for free. More exactly, it would have to be designed like other games, with only map packs following release.

Obviously, it could not be made in the same way as the PC version, and it would entail a completely separate set of difficulties that would have to be addressed. Here is a list of problems in the current Team Fortress 2 that would have to be fixed before the release over Xbox LIVE:
  • Lag and latency
  • Class balancing
  • Map balancing
  • Bad competitive game
  • Bad party game
  • Cheating and hacking is easy
  • Matchmaking is flawed
I will be writing several articles on how to fix each of these problems, if only to entertain the thought, as Valve is unlikely to notice this at all.