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Well the news from valve on TF2 is that the sniper is the next class for the update. This is “up to be the largest TF2 update yet”, so expect it to release mid 2011 based on valve’s record with these things. Still even though im not much of a sniper fan, Im not that good at playing it, hate being killed by them (especially as medic) and never find them that useful as teammates, I cant wait for this update to arrive – because ill go spy and stab my way gleefully across the battlements of 2fort.

Exploring a little on the TF2 site I suddenly realised that there are only 3 more “Meet the….” videos unmade at this time. The medic, the spy and the pyro. I can see all three having their challenges. The spy has a lot in terms of what they can base it around, but id see it as being tricky to pull off in the “Meet the…” style, but I see it being very good. The pyro has the obvious flaw of not being able to talk, but it does leave a lot in terms of comedy they can add to it.

However its the “Meet the Medic” video that I see being the most challenging, and thus i think valve will probably leave it last. You see the medic is quite dull to play to quite a few people, and those who do find fun in it, like me, revel in the concetration to try and keep your team, and yourself, alive amist the chaos, biding your time to retaliate with your own concentrated Chaos. This action will be hard to get across to the audience, and if that isn’t conveyed, it probably wont be a very good “Meet the…” video. They’d better do it well.

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There are just too many games out there that offer a lot in the way of challenge but little in the way of reward. They aren’t mad enough, there’s no sense of ultimate power to destroy and wreck havok. You get a little more powerful, as always but the enemies do so at the same rate, so has anything changed? Its just the same mechanic whatever you play. The basic mechanics for all genres of games hasn’t changed. Occasionally the enemies get awkward, so instead of shooting at them, you shoot a specific point, or in a certain way. Whenever a game comes along that overs something even remotely novel we are amazed. Half-life 2’s Gravity gun is exactly what I mean, your still basically shooting but in a unusual way. RPGs have the same mechanic, with the ability to ruin yourself if you don’t follow a proper pattern.

Don’t get me wrong I love the sense of challenge in games, the tough, intense thinking you go through. The sense of accomplishment you get from doing that is a good feeling. Role Players have a nice sense of the character you create is personal to you. There’s a good sense of steady rewards in games, they keep you playing with that mechanic, proper pacing of these games can, and certainly will, keep you entertained and playing them for ages. I just always feel cold afterwards, like I haven’t had a major experience, nothing that is truly memorable. The only game I have ever played that gave me that feeling was HL-Episode 2’s Ending battle. It felt wonderful, the fast paced action was blissful, and sadly a experience that Ive yet to recapture.

I just want a game where I feel powerful. I want to be able to blast through everything with immense power in a epic wave of destruction, but to still feel like its your handy-work. Games designers seem to be obsessed with the unattainable goal of realism or the tedium of perfect balancing. Games designers just aren’t mad enough anymore, where are the massive, super destruction spells or the massive guns that destroy everything. There vacant, games feel like they have lost something, where are today’s  Mad Lamborghini’s of games to fight the  too perfect Ferrari’s of Blizzard and others?

It saddens me, there are plenty of games on my shelf and on my steam account but they dont excite me anymore, I dont feel inspired to play them.

Sorry for the disheartening post, but its an issue I have thought about for a long time, I love games and I like problems to solve but give me something with feel, with passion as a proper reward.

I bought this game on December the 31st 2007 as part of the valve complete pack, and left it downloading while I travelled with my family to a new years party. I didn’t play it much at first, mainly because I also had half-life 2 episode 1 and 2 to play.

Since then I have played TF2 a lot, it complemented long WoW stints nicely. A short refreshing break to the long hours spent questing, for a while TF2 was good but secondary to many other games. It has surged into a major obsession and gone into an obscurity.

Still I have got in a fabulous amount of playtime. Ive gone through the classes and found new things and improved enormously in skill. One thing about me is that I like being the only one of that class so I tend to use different classes if there is a overflow of one, or if there simply isn’t anyone of that class.

A lot of playtime is in the engi. I’m very good at playing him form experience and skill. I mainly use him on offense, in a defensive way to hold what ground has been gained and get people forward. To this end the recent patch is good for me!

I’m loving the Medic though, and I’m a good medic who will dodge fire to save countless lives. I’m often lethal with the blutsager and can deploy Ubers and Kritz with good timing. I play it a lot on defence and often bind the team together and end up top of the Board. It is amazing how rarely I die when playing medic, and how rarely my team dies.

Spy, scout and pyro are classes I have as backup, and am fairly good at them. I raid the enemy a lot, i don’t do much damage as scout, but boy can I annoy and distract with style.

My total TF2 playtime stands at approximately:

472 Hours

With a total points gained at:

44,028

I love this game! Though I haven’t played it in a while I shall return to PWN AGAIN.

I am very fond of the medic, its a unique way to play that keeps me entertained more than the other classes. Here is a quick run down of me being a medic.

– I Heal!

I notice many medics who don’t do this (and seeing your best class played badly makes you cringe) or don’t do it well. I don’t blindly stick to one person with the LMB constantly pressed. Ill boost every-ones health on the fly and try to keep everyone alive, though ill stick with you if your the only one in the fight. I have been known to dodge my way past enemy fire to save the life of a team-mate.

– I use kritz a lot.

It didn’t seem good when it came out but I am very good at using it and can gain and deploy those 8 seconds of pure crits with frightening regularity. Its fantastic watching the crockets sail in, plus its useful to all classes with varying effectiveness.

– I am leathal with the Blutsager.

This is very funny as most people will try and kill a medic whilst the oblivious partner keeps firing and gets pwned later. They don’t often expect me to turn round and blutsager them, they certainly dont expect me to be able to properly aim it. Which I can. Ive killed a few people by sheer ignorance of the power of the Blutsager.

– I Rarely die and tend to top the team.

I score a lot of points as medic due to me being a good healer and spreading the wealth and getting lots of assists. I get a few kills with the Ubersaw and blut giving me a nice rate of ubers to deploy and get even more assists.

A few notes to people, i can defend myself a little but FFS look out for me. Also as my avatar says ‘ FFS YELL MEDIC!’ – this is a major frustration as i try and find people and to know who is low on hp and save a life.

The one thing I would like to know is how much healing I have actually done, because I’ve played 91 hours as medic now, mainly after the update, and I got the million a while back, so it is a lot.

To summarize you want me on your team, especially if I’m on Red, Dust-bowl – that’s when I come into my own.

I remember a while ago playing ‘Crazy Taxi’ for the PC and thinking it was quite good, i had fond memories but i lost it, which was a bit of a shame. I had fond memories of it, so when I found it again i was thrilled, i started it up and Woah! It was crap. Lazy port from a console, poor game-play and not much substance to it. I felt almost heartbroken, imagine you had just discovered your childhood hero was a pervert, just a little less significant I suppose.

I now realise why this was, I hadn’t played any real good games when I played that, but now I’m older, have subscribed to PC Gamer and broadened my gaming adventures, my average gaming experience is now much better, ‘Crazy Taxi’ just doesn’t Compete with the likes of TF2, HL2 ect.

There is a copy of Command and Conquer: Renegade on my shelf, I saw a budget review for it a while back giving it a low score, i was a little annoyed, as I enjoyed it. I don’t know whether to dash a minor childhood memory or play it again, to see if it really was crap, and stop deluding myself.

So really, trust a good reviewer, they have played a lot of games, they have a better way of telling if a game is good.

The TF2 unlock-ables and the class based achievements are both very well received. They are aptly named, and balanced to make them entertaining. Getting a new achievement feels good as it pops up in the right hand corner to congratulate you. The weapons can cleverly subvert the class and add new tactics, overall they are great!

The one problem everyone has is with linking the achievements to getting the unlock-ables. I was in this camp a while ago but now i see the reason behind that. They add extra incentive to them so you try new things. You realise from the medic achievements that you don’t have to die after each uber. Your greatest asset is healing people, others just go medic to get a uber charge. The Pyro and Heavy get a similar treatment, you learn new things about a class and become much more creative with it.

Its also faintly like an RPG except you just get different instead of better weapons, yet the achievements improve you as a class player.

I’m really anticipating the next wave of stuff.

EDIT – In response to Madlep’s comment I thought about having achievement’s tied to a medal system, to give rewards to those who are skillful with a class but a non significant bonus. Though the gear would need to be sorted first, and that would take a while to get 2 sets of gear which are fun to use. This might effectively expand the class choices subtly. This would make larger servers easier to find a niche to help your team.

I have always relished the idea of Co-op/ team based games. Multiplayer Team vs Team combat can be brilliant but team work is often abandoned in favour of rushing forward and trying to wear the enemy down. Im really exited about Left 4 Dead as it could be a refreshing change, fighting with a few allies who have a degree of intelligence is nice, you can miss occassionally and theres a great sense of working to defeat a common foe. Plus theres shooting zombies. im not quite sure about the player controlled zombies, that kind of defeats the point in my veiw, though the option to have some servers PvP and some not would be nice.

Co-op RTS is one thing id like to see more of, co-op campains with people taking different roles, for example building the base, depending on what they like best. I would really like that, for now i guess theres normal skirmishes, Red alert 2 possibly and Turn based stratgys to fill this hole

Crits – the random chance for an attack to deal much more damage than it should. The random fluctation of damage in games is unnoticed, crits however are not, we shout at them, scream when we are pwned by them and cheer when we get them. They are commonplace now but i hate them, there so annoying, unrealistic (not necessarily a bad thing) and unfair. The one thing they combat is player skill, the best players arent guranteed to win over weaker ones, the lucky crit can come into play. It also adds variety to gameplay. The thing is good players will still pwn weaker ones and crits do little to balance the affair. I have yet to play a multiplayer shooter where the game played out in a similar fashion. Playing Team Fortress 2 without crits is the same with crits, just the annoying moments of shouting ‘****** **** *******’ are blissfully removed, you dont mind deaths and enjoy what you accomplish instead of lamenting the instant kill you suffered. World of Warcraft has crits but these seem to do little to really change the whole outcome – you occasionally kill a mob a tiny bit quicker but thats all, theres ways to reduce the chance of it, and you do have to work to get your crit chance up. The new TF2 Arena Mode is the most annoyingly affected by crits.

I think that randomly generated maps for games like TF2 would be interesting, they give the same gameplay variations as crits but allow more improvisations, everyone has got used to sg spots in the current maps and it gets incredibly hard to be useful as engineer when everyone expects an sg.