There was something of a theme last night, among the gaming and usual witty banter.* I think it started off with cosplay, after Anery joined us from the Insomnia LAN event, but quickly devolved into playing the image equivalent of Russian roulette. Clicking on images lined by 5punkers is generally unwise, but last night it was turned into a sport.
*read: puns and childish insults
We had managed to reach a mostly unanimous agreement during the day that Team Fortress 2, or TEEF in our colloquialism, was to be the evening’s game. And it was. We began trying for a game of Mann vs Machine, a six-player horde defender variation with robot versions of the classes. Bizarrely, despite being around for easily a year, you have to actually pay real money to play a game of it. There was some discussion over this business model, and it was universally considered to be undesirable. Fortunately you can play ‘practice’ games where you don’t get loot drops, so we opted for that instead.
While we arsed around with servers the conversation turned to the dangers of clicking on links. The cosplay conversation had led to a few links of spectacular examples. The good ones, for me at least, consisted of Pnut backing up his argument that a majority of female cosplayers have large breasts. The bad ones (again, for me – there’s no accounting for taste though) were of fat, bearded men dressed as Chun Li.
We never did get the Mann Vs Machine game working. Mr J got a game set up but nobody could connect, and before we managed to get it working Grimmie finished downloading the game and there were too many of us. So we played a few minecart games instead. Now, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Team Fortress 2. I couldn’t play it when I got the Orange Box due to a poor internet connection, so I was late to the party. I’m not a fan of twitch-shooters anyway, so being behind the curve I got bored quickly and avoided it for years. Then, after it went free-to-play, I seemed to be a lot higher up the pecking order and started to enjoy it a lot more. I think the newer game modes helped too, I never really went for capture the flag style games but minecart and that one with the rocket were more fun.
More links were posted in the Teamspeak chat window as we played. Roman (I think) directed us towards a Reddit thread which gave you a link and two descriptions of what it could be – one generally appealing, one generally horrific. You would only find out which it was if you clicked on it. It seemed to be the theme of the night really, blind clicking links to find out what awaited. I’m happy to say I saw more good than bad.
The TF2 game rolled on enjoyably and fairly evenly. At one point we found ourselves all on the same side and doing very well. The wind was taken out of our sails when someone pointed out that the other team were all bots. The server must retain the name of a leaving player and replace them with a bot, and nobody had noticed. We found a new server and picked up a few randoms, and the game resumed again from there. The randoms were too good and a few games were whitewashes, and peoples’ attention began to wane.
As is now routine, we moved on to Dota 2. There was seven of us, so we had a random bot game. This was a good game, because the usual balance of power was turned on its head. We have a few players who are quite obviously better than the rest of us (who I won’t embarrass by naming, but I assure you I’m not one of them), and in the first game the balance of power was very much turned on its head. It made for a very refreshing match. It wasn’t an even match necessarily, although we did threaten the other side’s last towers at one stage, but it was good to see everyone enjoying themselves and not getting too frustrated.
Despite that we had a few dropouts and moved onto a five-5punker proper bot match. After getting a beating recently in these games we whacked the difficulty down to easy, but it turned out to be unnecessary as we won without any major problems. I played Vengeful Spirit for lane support, a character I don’t remember playing before, and I quite liked her. Good mix of disable, debuff, and damage. Support isn’t really my thing, I’m too impetuous, but I appreciate that it does take skill and restraint to do so I like to try it when I can in the hope that I’ll improve.
The last game was another proper bot match but we were down to four, so we picked up a random. We did well again, better than last time. The random took middle and performed well but not spectacularly. A few of us randomed and got support characters, so I decided to go back to Slark. Slark is my favourite, I like his mobility and hunter-killer play style, as well as his cheeky chappy Cockney fish persona. When I play him poorly I get battered all over the map and add nothing to team fights. When I play him well I’m a vicious killer who can zero in on stray enemies and destroy them in very short order. I’m pleased to say I was the latter last night.