Sunday, December 9, 2012

The value of teamwork

After trying several times in the past to get people to play the MvM Coaltown Halloween event map in TF2 and failing because of intense lack of interest (something I didn't and still don't get), I recently tried again at a few organised events. One was an afternoon of gaming with colleagues at uni in the GRID Lab. The other was at someone's minilan. During neither attempt was the team good enough to actually finish the map, which I found a little disappointing.

It is funny then that after just randomly scraping some people together in a couple of hours that I and a group of acquaintances managed to tear up the joint with reasonable ease, even after a start which was not even meant to be serious. It just goes to show the difference good players make when it comes to Coop gaming, when I guess 2-3 people aren't having to do all the work.

I have now come to the conclusion that the MvM event map is actually pretty easy with the right crew and as long as everyone does their job without dying much, fun and awesomeness can inevitably ensue. Speaking of fun and awesomeness:

In the video I make extensive use of the Black Box rocket launcher. Having been gifted a Beggars Bazooka, I can honestly say I am torn between two worlds in terms of using it. While the  Beggars Bazooka is undeniably the highest dps rocket launcher available to the soldier, and while getting to roughly the desired location on the map via huge chamber-chained rocket jumps, the Beggars loses some of the precision and timing I am used to with the Black Box. Not to mention the lack of life on hit, something I have pretty much adjusted my playstyle to make extensive use of.

Getting to a new tactical position quickly and easily or even jumping over incoming ordnance is something that can be done quite safely with the Black Box. After extensive use, I have come to realise that the sky is essentially a safe haven, allowing you to do maximum AoE damage from above and heal yourself with the Black Box's life on hit. It is as accurate as you are with the crosshair. There is also nothing better than rocket jumping from ammo pack to ammo pack, crit buffing teammates and dealing death below you in a precise manner.

The Beggars Bazooka on the other hand lacks that precision of aim (random spread), timely support and accuracy of mobility, but as mentioned, makes up for this in both sustained and burst damage potential. You can also fly, once you have figured out how it propels you. There is nothing better for traversing the entirety of the map, albeit in a rather reckless fashion, or for taking down giants of all kinds. While anything at range will give you trouble, anything in your medium range kill zone is going to be pounded by rockets, though not really from above. Standard rocket jumping is a bit awkward (different timing) and not as reliable to pull off in the thick of the fray.

Really I see uses for both rocket launchers. The Black Box I will use if we have heaps of damage (4 or more), little healing, but teammates that could benefit from timely, consistent crit buff support no matter where they are on the map. The Beggars Bazooka I will use if we severely lack damage, and I need to fill the role, possibly with medic/engineer support to make up for the lack of quick mobility and sustain. Ideally I would prefer to have both worlds, but you can't have everything.

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