I’m going to try to make a regular feature of a quick diary of our 5punky gaming nights on fridays and saturdays. Not everyone can make them, but people may be interested in the games. Teamspeak forms the heart of our gaming nights, the games almost being there as a source of conversation. Beer also features quite highly. Our gaming nights have always been one of the things which keeps the community as close as it is.
Last night saw the return of a 5punk staple – Battlefield. Almost every iteration of the series has been popular due to the combination of vehicles and explosions, which give us plenty of scope for hilarious disaster. Last night’s outing was Battlefield 3, courtesy of a few 5punkers picking it up cheap via the Humble Origin Bundle.
Returning to Battlefield 3 after about a year was an interesting experience. All the common themes of the series were there: struggling with the server browser, having Punkbuster problems, and helicopters. The first thing that struck me, though, once I got into the game, is how tactile the game is. I’ve been playing Planetside 2 quite a lot since it came out, and I’d forgotten just how brutal the battlefields of Battlefield 3 are. Bullets zip around you, causing your vision to blur and your soldier to gulp air. Explosions rock you and cause your ears to ring with the concussive force. Planetside 2 may trump it for scale, but the atmosphere of BF3 is still unsurpassed.
Of course confusion reigned for a while. Our trademark helicopter crashes and lemming tactics causing consternation among our teams. Fuck ’em, games are supposed to be fun, and fun was being had. The cries and curses of 5punker-on-5punker kills haven’t been heard very much on Teamspeak recently, but they were out in force last night. We all sucked, and yet still managed to populate the mid to top slots on the scoreboards. We were quickly getting back into the groove.
Then we all started to remember how frustrating Battlefield games are. The cry of “fucking helicopter” was becoming increasingly frequent. We were being rocketed to death by helicopters who had spotted us hidden behind cover, from half the map away. Some might accuse the pilots of cheating, but we’ve all been playing BEEF, our colloquial name for Battlefield games, long enough to know that on these fields the aircraft is king.
With interest in being helo-fodder waning quickly, the game was moved to Dota 2. Dota 2 is a strange development for 5punk, in that it’s just not our sort of game normally. It’s all serious business and teamwork and skill, none of which we’re really into. We’ve found ourselves liking it though. We still don’t take it too seriously, and we mainly play amongst ourselves with bots making up the numbers, but you just can’t beat that feeling of working out how to play a character you’ve never played before, then ganking your mates with it.
We managed three games last night. The first was our staple method – randomise the teams, random characters, everyone bomb-bursts. It’s as close to deathmatch as Dota 2 gets. I think everyone had a pretty good game too. Three 5punkers to a side, myself, Grimmie and Berk vs Roman, Bits and Fab. We won eventually, but it was a close game of something like 39-33. Everyone seemed to get the hang of their characters and enjoy themselves.
The second game saw a few people leave and four of us take on some bots. Roman, Bits, Fab and I decided to try to work together, choosing our roles and characters to compliment each other. It didn’t quite work out that way in the end – Fab and I ended up choosing (almost) random characters anyway, and the spare bot on the team chose Sniper – as much as a liability on your own team as the other – but we won anyway. Roman and Bits we all expect to play well, being our resident Dota 2 experts, but Fab also found a home with Templar Assassin who was demolishing the bots solo by the end game.
For the final game of the night we did something we’ve considered a few times but never tried, which is a themed team. The Invertebrate All-Stars, a team consisting entirely of insects, or things that look like insects, worked pretty well as it happens. Despite the bot ruining the theme by choosing Bounty Hunter, we had Bits leading the charge as Nyx Assassin, Roman as a support nuker with Venomancer, Fab as the hit and run carry Weaver, and myself as the initiator with Sand King.
Despite having a lone Medium bot on the other team, the Invertebrates were a resounding success. As Bits pointed out at the time, the insecty types tend to have a lot of disables and slows, and together we jsut put the other team on lockdown time after time. The highlight for me was (probably coincidentally) timing our attacks perfectly to hit the other team en-masse and wipe them all in around three seconds.
Despite the victory, I don’t think Fab enjoyed the fragile assassin type, especially after the powerhouse game he just had as Templar Assassin. Might have been the build, might just not be his thing. Which is part of the beauty of the game – what is an awesome class for one person is absolutely unplayable for another. Grimmie found himself a good character in game one and finished as the top player, despite being relatively inexperienced. There’s a lesson to be had here – if at first you don’t like your Dota 2 hero, try, try again.