Monday, January 11, 2010

Screw Your Weapons To The Sticking Place!

Over the past two years, Valve has been dedicating all of its abilities to slowly (but surely) destroying the Team Fortress 2 we console gamers know and love.

Too drastic, you ask? Definetly. There is not a large possibility that this was Valve's intent, but it has happened nonetheless. I mean, have you seen the WAR! Update?

The promotion was the regular Valve fanfare, known to most of you as "better every single damn time." Really? A comic? SWEET! A battle between Demomen and Soldiers? EVEN COOLER! A series of convincing newspaper covers! OMG, WOW! Truly, no one else gets you excited for something as well as Valve does.

To give you a rough idea of how good Valve is at being awesome, the badass picture above was made by a fan. And it only got third place in the poster contest. Which had over 11,00 entries.

Woah, wait, over 11,000 entries? Yes, that's right. 11,000 entries in a period of FIVE DAYS. This is unlike anything that has ever happened in the history of gaming, which is actually a regular thing for Valve to accomplish.

And then you look at the new weapons and wonder what the hell went wrong...

I don't even know where to start, so I'll just rant. The Direct Hit is basically a shotgun at close range and bullshit at long range. The only redeemable quality it has is mini-critting on air shots, which also makes it grossly overpowered in the hands of a skilled Soldier.

Then there's the Scottish Resistance that was clearly designed to be a clumsier, less useful version of a regular Sticky Launcher. I really can't think of any other design qualities Valve was going for here besides that. I will literally award a prize to someone who can think of a reason to use it instead of the Sticky Launcher.

Next up is a Buff Banner (with Bugle) that takes any Soldier and makes him look like a harmless Abercrombie model about to come out of the closet.

You thought I was joking until you saw that, didn't you? What if I told you it turns the Soldier into a walking version of everyone's favorite jar of urine? Yeah, I didn't think you'd be excited either, but I am trying my best to justify its exsistence.

I'd like to tell you that things get better from here, but the worst is yet to come.

Remember that time when the Heavy was fun to play? No, don't give up! Think way back to when you first started playing Team Fortress 2. Ah, the smile on your face tells me that you've made it there. Difficult, wasn't it?

The problem with the Heavy isn't that he isn't useful or that he is overpowered; these couldn't be further from the truth. I have less than five hours of Heavy playtime, but I'd calculate my Kill to Death Ratio as Heavy at around 7:1. He also holds my record for most kills in one life, at a solid 22 bodybags. So, in the right hands (preferably a Medic's) he is a killing machine. Too bad he is about as fun to play as a round of Monopoly. If you didn't chuckle at that joke, it's because you've never finished a round of Monopoly.

Out of this comes the real tragedy of the WAR! Update. See, the Eyelander, the Chargin' Targe, and the Equalizer are gimmicks when equipped to a Demoman or Soldier, but they would have revolutionized the Heavy. Think about it. A Heavy that becomes faster as you damage him. I piddled a little just considering it. Or even scarier, getting bull-rushed by a Heavy that proceeds to lop your head off your shoulders!

How could this have been overlooked? Where is the Valve I know? Why must the Heavy be left to die on the streets of Dullwood?

I'll tell you why. Valve has lost touch with the original concept of Team Fortress 2.

Now try to stop crying, son, and listen up. This is where you and I come in. Who better than those whom have played the unchanged game remind them of what they have sacrificed in the name of cheap "fun?" Stayed tuned, reader, this is just the introduction to what comes next.

We will get attention. We will have ours. I will take you there.


Anonymous said...

I've been thinking of our plight and basically narrow it to the inevitable outcome.

Idealistic: Valve does a miraculous about-face and apologizes for leaving us behind. They see to it that we are given a substantial update to dull the pain of abandonment. Whether the update takes the form of digital download over live or a new physical disc release is irrelevant. Valve promises to make good on its promise for updated content for xbox and we see significant improvement relatively quickly.

Realistic: Valve apologizes via email that what they intended to do can not be achievable anymore. The realization is kept quiet and intimate to the tf2-xbox community and might not even come from Robin Walker personally. The revelation is that Valve only cares enough to see it's PC users thrive, our concerns are secondary. That's not cynicism, that may very well be cold fact. It isn't profitable, efficient, or even technologically feasible to deal with a middleman for content like Msoft's Live policies or the inflexible constraints of the xbox 360 architecture. No one will shed a metaphorical tear over us, we were simply a failed ambition on their part.

The compromise: It's obvious that valve and Msoft clash ideologically to the point of deadlock. The trick is for valve to cut its losses and give us something substantial while bypassing tech and balancing restraints. The most obvious solution it would seem would be too release the maps and associated gametypes. Doing so would not cause undo technical stress and could be made cheap as to not fragment the community further.

Conclusion: Really though, the compromise is an imperfect solution. Admittedly, I dont know your plan but I can only see this last push for xbox consideration by Valve to be our final stand. Win or lose, we need to show them that we have been mishandled as valve customers with miscommunication and stalling tactics. We deserved better than how we were treated. We at least deserved to see something come out of these promises.

Neal Kenneth said...

This is the type of response I always hope for, Ben. Let me just say that I agree whole-heartedly agree with all you have written.

However, in order to achieve what we perceive as realistically possible, we will have to ask for more than we actually expect.

Mr Stabby94 said...

*Clap Clap clap clap*