Terrible Frustration 2

Team Fortress 2 is an awesomely enjoyable multiplayer game. I used to really enjoy it. Now it seems I can’t stay connected to a server for more than 30 seconds, and on top of that, most of the severs I find are either full or almost empty. Nobody wants to play on a quiet server, but here’s the thing people: if lots of people did play on a quiet server, it wouldn’t be quiet… It’s gotten to the point where the game might as well be called Dustbowl 2 (admittedly, Dustbowl is probably the best map).

I’m also getting a bit sick of seeing servers that are Dustbowl 24/7 or 2Fort 24/7 or some crappy custom map 24/7. There’s plenty of room for these types of server, but now their number seems to dwarf those with a standard official map rotation. Nobody seems to like Hydro for example. Once a player has decided they don’t like a map, they refuse to play it, but their hatred for it continues to grow for no good reason. It’s driving me round the bend trying to just play a relaxing game once a week. And every time Valve makes a small gameplay change in an effort to balance the game, it is called “nerfing” and the hardcore just goes on and on about how Valve have no idea what they’re doing “nerfing” the demo and the “solly” and whatever else just because they can’t use an exploit anymore to gain the upper hand or because they think having twice as many rockets is somehow a good thing for everyone who isn’t playing soldier.

Predictable tactics have ruined certain maps and classes. Granary for example is routinely won and lost by the Scout rush, while one team is setting up a defence, scouts run to all the points and as soon as the middle is capped, there’s several people on the next one. This is a legitimate tactic, but it is remarkable difficult to defend against an all-scout team, because they’re two fast for rockets, flamethrower or HW fire, and their scattergun is ridiculously powerful at close range. I tend to play Pyro, so I am routinely cursing the name of any Soldier or Scout, both of which trump Pyro at close range, leaving me wondering what my function on the team actually is half the time. Seems like half the time, a soldier’s kills come from rocket spamming corners, which is a particular nuisance on Dustbowl. And don’t even get me started on spies. Spies seem to exist only to annoy everyone who isn’t a spy, and boy are the efficient at it. In fact, that’s almost the only reason to be a Pyro thesedays, protecting Sentries from Spy sappers by flaming anyone who gets close. This does prove rewarding on occasion, but I’m somewhat sick of flaming everyone who gets near me. The Pyro’s secondary weapon is a crappy shotgun. It would be nice to have a more unique secondary, somewhere between the shotgun and the scout’s scattergun perhaps, to give the class a little more stopping power.

It is proving to be quite frustrating to the point that I’m almost ready to abandon the game. The thing that keeps pulling me back is the fact that when it does work, and when you’re not on a server of scout-rushing assholes, it can be a highly enjoyable game. Really, when it’s good it’s phenomenally good. I just wish it were good more often.

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