Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Byte: Team Fortress 2 Beta

I only got about an hour in on TF2 last night, because I had to let it finish downloading for most of the evening, and I have to say it's really rather good. Unfortunately - for the moment, at least - I completely suck at it; mainly because I haven't learnt the maps and aren't used to the playing style of most of the classes yet, but I was languishing in the bottom third of public server I was playing on last night.

I'm learning to really hate the Spy class already, as it seems to be ridiculously overpowered. I'm going to coin a new term to describe people who just spam the Spy class: CAD-whore (the 'CAD' standing for Cloak-And-Dagger, naturally). The Spy's backstab is seemingly an insta-kill regardless of what class you're playing (for example being a Heavy with 450 health when you're being supercharged by a Medic, yet being killed in one hit by a cloaked Spy is super-mega-annoying) - it's worse than getting your head taken off by a Sniper on the other side of the map, which actually doesn't happen so much - mainly because the people who would normally play as Snipers are playing Spies instead, and also because the sniper rifle is so hideously laggy (at least on the server I was playing on last night) and the reload rate is so slow you barely have a hope of hitting anything anyway...

The Pyro would be fun if you didn't have to be standing right next to someone to do them any serious damage at all - by which point they've either hit you over the head with a wrench or (inevitably) backstabbed you because there was a cloaked Spy you couldn't see hiding behind a corner. I didn't play as an Engineer or a Scout, as I spent most of the time playing as a Soldier or Heavy. I had most success with the Soldier, though I didn't quite master the rocket jump... The map design looks pretty good, but I do have to be convinced by some of the class balancing - it kind of goes against the grain that you can bring a knife to a gun fight and consistently win. I'm also mildly concerned by some of the reload and fire rates of the weapons, though maybe that just could have been the lag. One thing I really don't like, however, is weapon switching using the mouse wheel. Needing to use a confirming left-click to switch weapons when you're in the middle of a hectic mêlée can make the difference between you living and being killed. Especially if you don't want to (or can't) take your fingers off the WASD movement keys to use the keyboard shortcut instead. Also, I'm not sure whether it was just the server I was on, but I had a few concerns with bugs. Some of the clipping is a bit suspect, and I got caught on a few edges here and there which made the lag jump through the roof, and once I got stuck to the front of a passing train (which should have killed me instantly) and it took the server about 45 seconds to decide I had actually been hit and should be dead. By the time it made up its mind, we'd gone into Overtime and I couldn't respawn. Annoying. Still, I guess it is a Beta and I should play on a few different servers before coming to any real conclusions, but it does look like it's going to be a hit, even if there are a few glitches. I'm going to play it a bit more in the coming evenings, and I'll give you some more thoughts as I have them.
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