Update Double-Up: TOR’s ‘Allies’ Patch And Pyro Day 2

By Nathan Grayson on June 27th, 2012 at 9:00 am.

NO GUYS TURN AROUND RUN HE'S GIANT.
I remember when games used to be obstinate, unyielding creatures. They’d prance through the room, coated in all manner of dust and bugs and glitches, and they just didn’t care. Now, though, they heed developers’ every beck and call post-launch. The things can practically grow extra arms on command. Case in point: SWTOR’s latest patch, which brings it up to not-quite-light-speed with modern MMOs and, of course, Team Fortress 2′s recent case of Pyromania. So then, let’s have a gander at what’s on the menu.

SWTOR’s additions are largely in the name of basic usability (see: group finder, ranked warzones, and the ability to choose your appearance regardless of whatever gaudy stat-boosting garb’s hiding underneath), but Legacy perks seem like a nice way to boost along the alt-leveling process. Still though, if players don’t want to slow down and savor a story-based experience like SWTOR, I think that says something about the taut limits of its class-specific yarns.

Pyromania Day Two, meanwhile, adds new weapons for Scout, Sniper, Soldier, and Pyro and a new level called Downtown Teufort (Edit: It’s not a level! I’ve been a fool. But this description is still wonderful, so I’m keeping it.) Valve had these wonderful things to say about it:

“Downtown Teufort: The mighty Manhattan of the Badlands. The Big Gravel. The City That Never Seeps (the slogan of our campaign to let people know we’d started getting a handle on our world-famous sewage problem). Whatever you want to call them, these streets are filled to bursting with opportunity (and, depending on the weather, up to knee-height with sewage).”

“Maybe you read that article in Tourism Monthly (‘Teufort: It is Horrible’) and you’re worried about murder, thievery and tramp attacks. Don’t be! Thanks to our lack of a fire department, they’ve got bigger things to worry about than you: Putting out all those methane fires.”

Delightful! Also, there are hats because of course there are hats. Personally, I’m a fan of the Scout’s snazzily shot up Public Enemy, but the Soldier’s Dumpster Diver helmet pairs nicely with his cluster-launching Beggar Bazooka. Meanwhile, the Pyro comes comes in last on the warzone wear catwalk, but manages to lead the pack in setting everything on fire - as is his wont. He now adds the knockback-inducing Scorch Shot flare gun to his arsenal. Unsurprisingly, it also “ignites enemies in a small radius.”

So yes, go play your freshly re-shiny-fied games. They missed you, you know. Look at their adorable widdle faces. Show them love while you can. They won’t be around forever. Except for the part where this metaphor totally breaks down because – let’s face it – pretty much every game released after the year 2007 is destined to outlive us all.

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48 Comments »

  1. EPICTHEFAIL says:

    As a Pyro player, I approve of the Scorch Shot. AoE ignite + knockback? Gimme now!

    • Ringwraith says:

      It’s less capable for sniping people at range though. Which is mostly what I used the flare gun for, especially before they changed its damage calculation to be of a more standard kind.

  2. bear912 says:

    I don’t think Downtown Teufort is actually a new level, Sir Grayson of Castle Shotgun. I rather think it’s just an area in TF2′s fiction, “Teufort” being a play on ctf_2fort.

    Of course, it would be cool to see some sort of urban-ish area rendered in TF2′s quirky, wonderful alt-1960s style…

  3. The Dark One says:

    Those tin-can grenades are adorable.

  4. SkittleDiddler says:

    I really want to try out the new Pyro stuff, but I don’t want to spend the many many hours necessary just to get a slight chance in picking one of those items up. I’m certainly not going to buy them or venture into the TF2 trade forum and deal with the horrid little people there either.

    And I’m still trying to figure out what the hell Adult Swim has to do with all this.

    • Zern says:

      One alternative to trading with random strangers is http://www.tf2wh.com/.
      They use bots, and items are usually much cheaper than if you were to craft them yourself.

    • yutt says:

      You realize nearly every item not tied to a pre-order or holiday event can be crafted, right?

      http://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Crafting#.C2.A0Pyro

      • Misnomer says:

        And you realize that it will take you YEARS of gameplay now to collect enough stuff to craft every weapon? And you might not even get the stuff necessary to make the one weapon you want if you ignore all the others? I have tried the method you suggest and gave up. It’ll take me weeks at my play rate to be able to craft one item…and it is rarely the one I want. TF2 is now GRIND, TRADE, or BUY only.

        I fully believe that Valve should have made 1 lowest quality version of every new stats bearing weapon available to fully paid version owners…. but that is entitlement speak I guess. I am just sick of it. If they said now, pay $15 and we will guarantee you every new stats bearing weapon we make from here on out… (1 copy lowest grade) I would likely do it for the joy TF2 has brought me. But, that would cut into the massive profits they reap from F2P.

        For now, it is a never ending grind to try to play with the new toy some micro purchaser has been killing you with on the last three maps. It isn’t overpowered….but it is there, mocking you because you have less game to play with than him….even if you paid more for TF2 overall by purchasing it back when you could count all the weapons without running out of fingers and toes.

        They are basically making your level of content access random unless you spend an exponentially increasing amount of cash. I would have rather had expansion packs than this content gamble.

        • Kollega says:

          I wholeheartedly agree with this man and endorse what he says.

        • phuzz says:

          It’s true that unless you play loads you’ll never pick up anything worthwhile (I’ve picked up about two items in probably over 10 hours of play since they implemented random drops), but personally I don’t care.
          Sure, I look at my flatmate with his fancy bazooka thingy, and for a moment I’m jealous, but then I shoot him in the face with my bog-standard sniper rifle and laugh at his corpse, and all is right with the world :)

        • Brise Bonbons says:

          I agree with Misnomer’s assessment as well. At one time crafting was a powerful tool to get a specific item you want. But starting just after Valve decided it was OK for hats to be required for set bonuses, the crafting recipes started to get more and more ludicrous. I think (weapon + some sort of metal) is a fine crafting recipe. (weapon + weapon + refined metal) not so much, especially as the number of weapons in the game skyrockets, making it much less likely that you have the exact weapons you need to craft what you want. Then there are items like the solemn vow, which requires 8 fucking Jarates and a refined metal to craft.

          The end result is that nowadays if I want to craft new item Z, I would need to jot down that I need items X and Y and N*scrap metal for that recipe, then figure out if I have those specific weapons (which is statistically unlikely), then determine that I need weapons B, D, and H + N*scrap metal in order to craft X and Y, then figure out which weapons I can afford to melt into scrap metal and which I need to save because I might need them to craft weapons R and T. And then in the next update some new recipe inevitably comes out that requires weapon P, the last of which you just turned into scrap.

          And all that assumes the new item even launches with a recipe. At least one recent block of items didn’t get crafting recipes for several weeks…

          It’s just a clusterfuck of inconvenience these days, for no logical reason other than to drive people to the store to buy gameplay related items. I think it’s a cheap tactic on Valve’s part, and I hoped for more from them, though at least it’s not as bad as the borderline unethical crate&key gambling system.

          TF2 is still probably the best example of the F2P business model around, but that’s not exactly high praise. It seems like it will be supplanted by DOTA2, but I’m not confident how long that will last given TF2′s slow descent into F2P madness over time.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Valve won’t even let us craft crates into scrap. I just don’t have the time or inclination to resort to a shoddy crafting minigame in order to get one or two items.

        Lately, I’ve been trying to get enough craft materials to make an Ol’ Snaggletooth for my sniper in order to complete a set. It’s nearly impossible due to the all the stupid little restrictions Valve place on crafting itself.

        Only hardcore TF2 players really benefit from crafting.

    • Grey Ganado says:

      Can’t you get every weapon for free for one week?

  5. zeroskill says:

    inb4 obligatory art-style nazi rant.

    • Kollega says:

      You know, it really is a huge shame that we have descended to this. For me, the gameplay of TF2 was never anything special, but the art style made it the best game i’ve ever played. And now it has been diluted by medieval and cyberpunk items to the point of becoming a cluttered mess. Yet, i am an “art style nazi” if i bemoan losing one of the best games ever to excessive commercialization. Bleh. Just… bleh. Be gone with you.

      I should note, however, that this update, or indeed any class update in TF2 history, didn’t violate the style all too much. The real culprits are promotional items.

      • zeroskill says:

        Team Fortress 2 gameplay nothing special. Right.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbWDEIpGWJE&feature=relmfu

        I don’t want to sound like an ass but if you think TF2 is about artstyle you are just missing the point.

        • Bloodloss says:

          I’ve played a lot of TF2 and agree with him, really. It’s such a chaotic, spammy imbalanced game that is basically fun for a bit of silly carnage, but after 15 minutes I get bored and quit nowadays. I much prefer more balanced, fine-tuned games.

          • zeroskill says:

            “I much prefer more balanced, fine-tuned games.”

            Like?

          • Wisq says:

            I for one am glad that TF2 continues to change up the weapons and the dynamics, rather than tuning a particular model and then sticking with it for eternity.

            The fact is, most of my Steam friends that I met while playing TF2 years ago, are still playing TF2 today. That likely wouldn’t happen if the gameplay hadn’t been slowly changing and keeping it fresh over the years.

          • Brise Bonbons says:

            “Like?”

            TF2 classic mode if you could ever find a damn server. TF2 competitive lobbies with extensive ban lists maybe? Shootmania, probably.

            Determining whether a soldier is using the direct hit or normal RL gives you a simple enough scenario that you can still think and react on the fly. When you have to determine which of several dozen items a soldier is using, all of which could have a range of game changing effects, from a subtle stat change or weird novelty effect, to a completely different ballistic profile, it becomes impossible to even take in all the variables, much less take any action to respond to the details of the scenario at hand. Multiply this by 24-32 players on the server, and TF2 games today simply feel like chaos.

            A tightly tuned FPS should be kept plenty fresh and deep if you empower your mapping community and support them, which to their credit Valve do a great job of. Playing on a new map truly gives you new choices, new gameplay scenarios, and increases variety. I think there is a strong argument that all the new weapons in TF2 do more to make the experience bland and opaque rather than creating variety and fresh gameplay.

            There is simply too much going on now, with such an overwhelming number of unique effects that there are fewer meaningful choices to make, not more. It’s the same problem you get with MMORPGs, where there are hundreds of different tiny variables, but they all blend into gray background noise and don’t wind up meaning anything except to the tiny minority of ultra-hardcore players.

            Re: Wisq: If we’re sharing anecdotes, basically none of my TF2 friends play it anymore, and many of my IRL friends who once did have removed it from their computers out of frustration. Anecdotes and data and all that. Clearly it is still a popular game, but so are many mediocre F2P titles. F2P works based on the fact it attracts a huge customer base, after all.

        • Kollega says:

          First off, i think i should highlight that “artstyle over gameplay” is my own personal opinion. But i believe it is right.

          Second off, of all the features of TF2 you decide to show off explosive-jumping spiced up with some ediiting. I recall that Quake has elevated explosive-jumping to an artform long before TF2 came out (especially seeing as originally TF was a Quake mod).

          Third off, my retort: there are a lot of competitive multiplayer shooters – from the aforementioned Quake to Planetside, from Call of Duty to Red Orchestra. But there are precious few games that capture the aesthetics of 1960s spy fiction parody as well as TF2 did. The only other one i can remember is Evil Genius, and sequel for that is still not coming even after all those years. This is why i’m upset at Valve introducing medieval and futuristic items to a game that was aesthetically perfect from launch to somewhere about the Sniper Vs. Spy update.

          (And no, the Huntsman was appropriate for the Sniper. But the sword for the Demoman and the crossbow for the Medic were where i drew the line.)

          • zeroskill says:

            You know what baffels me about you people? You put so much energy into whining you hearts out about how Valve ruined the artstyle on sites like these. I wonder why you people don’t get organized, set up a server, and just play the way you like.

            You pretend to care about the game but you don’t even go and set up a server the way you like to play. Team Fortress 2 is a very easily moddable game, ( you can even mod the menu screen to not show the shop at all, infact, I run such a mod) and you can with little effort set up a server (like so many people do) and restrict every single item you don’t want to have on your server.

            But no. You rather keep on whining. That leads me to believe that you are just the sort of person that likes to complain and doesn’t take mathers into their own hands.

          • Kollega says:

            “Out of sight, out of mind”, huh? Well it dosen’t work that way for me. But you obviously will not care for that, or anything else i say.

          • zeroskill says:

            You are right there. I don’t care for people that don’t take mather into their own hands. And neither does Valve.

          • Nick says:

            “doesn’t take mathers into their own hands.”

            So you are suggesteding they Marshall their forces?

          • Kollega says:

            And i don’t care for people who pull Godwin’s on me for not liking business decisions that have turned my most favourite game to one of my least favouirte games. But since i’m on the wrong side of the argument here…

          • Zern says:

            I also don’t get how the people whining about people complaining about a game’s loss of an art style can’t seem to be bothered to set up their own gaming related web site, where they can just filter such comments.

            I think it may actually be whiners all the way down from here.

          • Brise Bonbons says:

            Apparently taking matters into our own hands can never include:

            Public critique of a company’s business behavior
            Criticism and discussion of a game’s design choices
            Having a dialog about how business choices impact artistic ones

            Because those things involve weak bodyparts, with the talking and thinking; not like hands, which are for punching and shooting and building shit!

            After all, as long as we can set up our own little clubhouses where we make the rules, having a dialog about things that effect the poor saps on the outside is irrelevant. They should just make their own damn clubhouses and stop whining!

            Zeroskill, what the fuck do you expect when you come to a discussion thread, exactly? Apparently not people having conversations about their opinions, it seems.

            Re: Your very strong feeling that people should never talk about TF2, and should just go and find a server to play on. Well, I’ve tried, but I don’t really have time these days to commit to a highlander lobby, and I’ve never been able to find vanilla servers which are populated. And despite your rantings, I think it’s important to have conversations about how F2P models can go right, and how they can go wrong and damage otherwise solid game design.

            If you don’t think this is valuable, I suggest you ignore these comments and go back to your TF2 server and pretend they aren’t happening.

  6. unique_identifier says:

    that is a truly fantastic hat for the sniper.

  7. WinTurkey says:

    Gee whiz, more stuff for the soldier, who could have guessed.

  8. matty_gibbon says:

    Haven’t played Team Fortress in years. Is it now impenetrable?

    • Xocrates says:

      As someone who dipped back in recently, I would say no since most of the new weapons (at least, those post the last class update) are variations of the standard ones, not outright new ones, and as such you can understand what role they fill even if you don’t know exactly what they are.

      It is a very different game from what it was at launch however.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      Last time I dipped in I found it a chaotic mess, but that’s been my feeling about it for the last couple years, even when I played regularly. The new items aren’t really confusing, so much as an opaque featureless mass of things that do stuff you won’t understand.

      It is still an excellent game, however. I’d say give it a shot, but try to find some 24 player servers with good communities, don’t just let the automatch system put you somewhere. 32 players will just exacerbate the confusion.

      I am also a firm believer that playing on nocrit servers makes the game much easier to follow these days, but they can be hard to find.

    • zeroskill says:

      A friend of mine who is a former Counter Strike player just recently started playing Team Fotress 2 and had no trouble what so ever ajusting to the game and has become really good at it in a really short amount of time. But I guess the tolerance for what some might call an “chaotic mess” varies from a player to player basis.

      Just fire it up and see if you like it. Just don’t use the matchmaking. Finding a good community server and sticking to it for a while would probably be a better idea.

  9. noom says:

    New stuff does sound interesting, but I gotta admit the idea of being hit close range with a triple rocket barrage is not an idea that fills me with glee.

    Though it did just occur to me that such a weapon would be fantastic for airblasting… as a pyro player I think I approve.

    • Ringwraith says:

      A fair few of these weapons seem to actually be working in pyros’ favour, like the fire damage vulnerability. Makes sense of course.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      That strikes me as an especially idiotic weapon. I’m sure all the medics will love having some soldier drop on their head and insta-kill them with 3 rockets to the feet from close range.

      Who thought that was an OK idea, again? Oh, probably the same guy who OK’d the force of nature and the Sodapopper and all the other weapons that serve no function in normal play, but get pulled out occasionally to troll people by killing them before they know what’s going on.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        The best players are able to one-shot with a soldier now anyway. I don’t see how adding one more goofy rocket launcher to the equation is going to make it any worse.

  10. Gundato says:

    I haven’t logged in since the patch, but I don’t think it is entirely that the story quests are unliked (in most cases). I absolutely love them.

    The issue is the non-class quests (so the generic missions like What Czerka Found on Tattooine). Those overlap between the classes on a given side, and sometimes between both sides (the tail end of the aforementioned quest). I know that I absolutely want to play a Sith Inquisitor after I get my Jedi Knight to Chapter 3, but I do not look forward to replaying all the sidequests that my Bounty Hunter already did. So if I can get a boost of XP while doing those (if only to skip some of the more tedious bonus objectives), I will.

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