Monday, April 21, 2008

Drinking for the Well of TF2

How did I even get title? I guess it just came to me. Anyway, to address the prompt. I started playing Team Fortress 2 again and again, wow. That's all I can really say. That game is just so good. I mean you can just play for hours and hours and hours. Every map has a much different feel to it that changing maps is almost like changing games. It's a true testament to the design of Valve. Every class plays so differently and yet so well. And every class works with every map.

Anyway, to the point of this whole blog. I read an article by Super Intern Norman Chan that I really agreed with. He puts forward that one thing that makes TF2 and UT3 and even Halo 3 so attractive is the lack of difference between the best players and the epic N00bZ. Norman Chan's rocket from the soldier does as much damage as someone who has started 5 minutes. The only advantage he has is that he knows where to shoot them. This is in contrast to a game like Call of Duty 4 or Battlefield 2, where the more experienced players are rewarded with better guns. This might encourage play to get those guns, but after you obtain them, where do you go? The game stops being fun. In Team Fortress's case, you have played for 100+ hours because you love the game. With the new achievements and unlockables coming out, I'm not sure that initial fun will stay.

First, it will the night of 1000 medics. Everyone's going to want to get their Uber-saw and we won't have anyone to heal or Uber. Second, we reward the talented medics by giving them better things to heal with? If anything, we should give the bad players an advantage, for they clearly need it more. This can be seen in true form in Super Smash Brother's Brawl. If someone is doing bad enough, they get a sympathy smash ball. This allows them to attempt to alleviate their losses. Third, after you get those achievements, will anyone want to continue to be medic?

My proposition is that you simply give the weapons to everyone. If people must work for them, it discourages new people from joining the game. If the weapons are initially unlockables, but then just given, there runs the risk of offending your loyal player base. The achievements are a fun enough meta-game to stand by them selves. No reward for achievements. When I was on my stint with my 360, I wanted to play to get the Achievement Points. I sat through Prey to get the 500+ points. Games stopped being fun, only something to be done to get those points. At one point, I had even asked myself, "Why would someone play any games on any other systems where there are no achievement points?". It wasn't a good thing, to say the least.
  1. Team Fortress 2

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Well said. I Agree with both you and Norman, unlockables can detriment a game as much as they can freshen it. I like the idea of just including the new weapons and load-out system off the bat. This leaves the achievements to be sought after by those searching for bragging rights, rather than those searching for new weapons so they can have the upper hand in battle.