Impressions: Team Fortress 2: Mann Vs Machine.

By Craig Pearson on August 17th, 2012 at 8:00 pm.

An RPS first: the interactive fistbump
I finally managed to dodge the queues and get some mano-a-machino time in with Mann Vs Machine, the new game mode for Team Fortress 2. Valve have remixed their combative cartoon shooter so the warring Red and Blu teams are fighting together against a robotic horde. It’s hard. So very, very hard.

I’m sure some of the difficulty is because of the newness of the mode – three new maps, new spawns, upgrades, new enemies, and the fact that they’re robots, left me reeling – it’s the first time in a long time in TF2 I’ve felt like a newbie.

How it works: your team of up to six players starts each round near a shop in set-up mode. Here you can upgrade your powers, spending points the game doles out according to kills and wins. The boosts effect any weapon, so I tooled my Rocket Launcher to have faster firing and to leech out health towards me for every kill. I could have had speedier reloading or a bigger clip, or a few other boosts, but I ran out of money. Every upgrade is upgradeable as well, so you can keep piling them altogether. These are all passive. There are buffs available as well, but I haven’t managed to gain one yet. MvM is more for people that understand the game: the stats upgrades don’t mention base amounts, so you have to know in your blood how effective classes and weapons will be.

At the opposite end of the level is where the robots drop as they prepare to deliver a bomb into your base. While the team readied up, I took stock: the levels are symmetrical, probably to help the bots to manoeuvre around them. They’re not as complicated as something like Badwater, but there are multiple, flanking routes. These, I realised after being flanked, are for the robots.

A Scotchbot

Waves are per-determined, so you know exactly what you’re facing before the round begins, and it’s really important to get the selection correct: if you’re not toting a Pyro with an airblast when you face Giant Mecha Scout, you might as well pack up and leave.

From the opening bell the differences between standard and MvM are obvious: this is spam central. The robots are plentiful and drop easily enough. You don’t need to be clever with your shots, just persistent and capable of backtracking to health and ammo when needed. As expected, where the robots drop into is particularly spammy: they can be fooled somewhat by placing a player directly underneath where they drop, as the angle they fall they take means they’ll fall with their back to whoever is there. If you have a someone on front or a sentry gun, they’ll focus on that, enabling the sneaky bugger behind them to clean up.

The AI is as capable as the human players, but they don’t have those cheeky emergent skills real players bring. The robots aren’t bad, in fact they can be surprisingly cheeky, taunting after they take you down. Valve have taught AI soldiers to rocket jump and the AI Spies to disguise and back stab, but if you’re ever fooled by one you should probably take the Turing test.

He almost looks like he has feelings

Rounds are split up into waves, with the announcer shouting out who’s left. I barely noticed, to be honest: with my tuned up Rocket Launcher spitting out speedy missiles, I was having too much fun – robots burst in groups under my crosshairs and I made a small fortune in the first wave. Bots drop money for you to spend at the shop, so during the wait for the next level I added a bigger ammo clip to help me spam. More ammo is always welcome here, but after the first round things are already a magnitude of toughness above what you’ve just fought.

If you join an in-progress game, you’re given a boosted wallet according to the level: one game I joined in progress was at the final stage, where giant heavies and stretched out soldiers were escorting a tank to the bomb site. The giants are ugly and scary: the Heavy is able to shoot rockets out of the sky. I added everything I could afford and ended up with a RL so overpowered I felt bad for the bots. The countdown clicked over and I let rip alongside my team’s Demo and Pyro. The robots didn’t stand a chance. Except my spam was useless as the tank ground on and on and the heavy, boosted by an ubering medic, killed me in seconds. I’ve honestly no idea how to take down a tank without the sort of concentrated fire that we weren’t capable of, but the team make-up was probably been off. Sometimes it needs a Pyro; other levels a Sniper taking out the Medics will make everything easier. In time that knowledge will become second knowledge, but for now it’s a mess. A fun, silly mess. I can’t see it taking over the main game, as it requires a few logistical certainties to work. But it’s a hefty addon that you wouldn’t see on Battlefield 3, or CoD: Modern Warfare Whatever, for the price Valve are asking for it.

In conclusion: Fight!

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77 Comments »

  1. Anthile says:

    So far I think the most interesting thing is how gear that is rubbish (or simply overshadowed by better stuff) in PvP turns out to be much more useful in MvM. The Sydney Sleeper is devastating, especially with piercing rounds, the Hibernating Bear set works great as does the Scottish Resistance.

    • ANeM says:

      The Fan of War is my current favorite for previously underpowered weapons. It really makes all the other scout weapons look terrible in comparison. Why would I want to spend $500 making my sandman ball mark for death when I can just have an on demand mark with the fan?

    • Geen says:

      The Sydney Sleeper is actually pretty good for new players, as body shots are just as effective as headshots, and it also can be used semi-efficiently at close range due to the jarate effect and the lack of need for headshots.

  2. bear912 says:

    It is grand fun, though I haven’t been able to finish a single mission yet, simply because whenever we get anywhere near winning the server we’re playing on will either contract some sort of game-breaking bug, or my TF2 client will crash.

    I am sad.

    I also wish I could take my upgraded sticky launcher back into the normal game. I suppose you would all lose, then, though. That would be pretty boring for you I guess.

    • liquidsoap89 says:

      I haven’t been able to win a match, but the reason for that is that this mode is FREAKING HARD! I played 3 matches yesterday, for a total of 7 hours(!)… And I didn’t win a single game.

  3. Ham Solo says:

    You win, I’m reinstalling as I write this.

    • Smashbox says:

      Ha! Me too.

    • Mattressi says:

      I did the same thing, but I haven’t been able to play an MvM game yet. It’s probably just because I live in Australia, but it keeps telling me I’ve got 30+ minutes to wait to get into a game.

      However, I played multiplayer for the first time in a long time. After playing Tribes Ascend heaps, I’ve now found that I no longer suck at TF2. I just go soldier and get direct rocket hits almost every shot from any distance. It’s so easy compared to blue-plating a pathfinder going 250+ sanics. I now feel ashamed at my old self. I’m finally on-par with the other players :D

      • Jim Reaper says:

        Trust me Mattressi, living in Australia has nothing to do with it. You’re lucky if you only get a thirty minute wait no matter where you are…

  4. Stevostin says:

    It’s early to tell how much importance it will take actually. I feel like this has the potential to last long if given some attention and it seems like Valve will do that.

    The main cons so far is that the search game isn’t working at all so you have to rely on the game server and aim to anything with 5, no less no more, player in it. It clearly need a function that launch server browser, filter with map and 5 p no more no less then autojoin the lesser ping with no password.

  5. johnkillzyou says:

    Its surprisingly easy as long as you don’t focus all firepower on big guys or tanks. I beat it with my friends on our first try. However, losing is rather fast if you let the bomb carrier slip through that one teensy weensy crack in your line.

  6. deadpan says:

    They took the basic elements of Killing Floor (useful upgrades purchased at a counter in between waves, multiple chokepoints to encourage falling back) and added some basic AI so the enemies don’t just stumble at you in a straight line. And also robot taunts. So many robot taunts.

    There are still a few bugs to work out but it’s still good fun. That is unless your whole team goes engineer because they feel like losing repeatedly.

    • Stevostin says:

      I never like KF but I like that. Agreed with your statement, so I wonder what makes it more enjoyable to me rather than KF.

      • deadpan says:

        I really wanted to like Killing Floor, but it’s just boring. The levels are too dark and discourage exploration, and since the only objective is survival most players just find a closet and camp. It’s like the worst part of Left4Dead 1 panic events, which Valve specifically tried to address in the sequel.

        I’m sure in a week or so players will find the exploit spots and pro strats to turn Man vs Machine into a boring grind, but until then it’s a great time to actually experiment with a game everyone thought they had figured out.

        • Prolepsis says:

          I don’t know when you last played Killing Floor, but within the last two years, the devs have been pretty good about tracking where players “make base” at, and modifying the map with enemy spawn points so things stay interesting.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      A team I was playing on decided to just mess around and try to have some fun. We ran a team of of 4 engies, 1 medic, and 1 heavy. We managed to easily beat the Normal version of Coal Town.

  7. Quatlo says:

    A friendly advice: Don’t bother with Mann Up mode. You can run harder maps from console and you can omit stupid matchmaking that takes ages to find you a game. For one Tour of Duty Ticket you can play single map, from which you get random item drop (some crappy one, just like from weekly item drops)
    You need to use 6 tickets (one for every map) after which you get AN ITAMZZ from the update, which is quite valuable but I think not worth the hassle and items spent for tickets.

    Harder maps have _advanced in their name, something like mvm_coaltown_advanced and mvm_coaltown_advanced2

    Of course I am wrong a little in this post as I don’t remember everything correctly.

    • Clavus says:

      You can just cast a vote to move to a harder mission. Press escape and then the vote icon. I don’t remember them having separate map names, since it’s the same map just a different set of waves.

  8. Amnesiac says:

    A Pyro really helps with the tanks too.

    If you use the tank for cover from the heavies while taking it down you can usually get them in range to damage them through the tank.

  9. Qabal says:

    “The AI can do everything a human player can do, but without the nuances, hence the idea of throwing overwhelming odds at the humans. The robots aren’t bad, in fact they can be surprisingly cheeky and taunt after they , but if you’re not thrown by the fact that Valve have taught AI soldiers to rocket jump, or AI spies to disguise and back stab, you can figure out a few corners to tuck into, or do try some Spying that you wouldn’t dream of with a human.”

    This paragraph hurt my brain.

  10. Dominic White says:

    It’s worth mentioning that TF2 has had bots (of the AI player-substitute variety) for quite some time, and on the higher difficulties, they’re far smarter than the mass-produced fodder you fight in Mann Vs Machine. They’re a pretty clever and capable bunch – it might not be quite as nuanced as an experienced human player, but at the higher settings they’ll still soundly trounce any newbie.

  11. Zarunil says:

    I wish one could reset purchases between waves. This would allow for more experimentation and diverse gameplay.

    Also, if your team stonewalls at a wave and can’t proceed, the game is basically over. There should be some mechanism to slowly make it easier, for instance by letting you keep money from the failed wave instead of restarting the current wave without any upgrades you just bought.

    • Unaco says:

      There is an option like that… but not quite. If you fail a wave, you have the option to restart that wave (with the cash from the purchases you made before it back in your bank), or to restart the entire map, thus allowing you to ‘reset’ your purchases, by making you do the earlier waves again. It isn’t quite what you mean… but it is an alternative if your team have upgraded themselves in the ‘wrong’ way.

  12. elmo.dudd says:

    “But it’s a hefty addon that you wouldn’t see on Battlefield 3, or CoD: Modern Warfare Whatever,”
    I am looking forward to the PC update to MW3 which adds the Chaos mode as you survive solo against hordes of AI soldiers, where milestones in multipliers add additional perks and buffs, as the game piles on the craziness. Not really comparable to MvM as it is trying to be a different thing, but still it isn’t like MW3 has been abandoned since launch (adding Dropzone, Infected, All Or Nothing, Face Off, and now Chaos – none of which require purchasing DLC (though one DLC pack includes additional maps geared for Face Off – but the update did include two)).

    • Baines says:

      To be fair, Dropzone, Infected, and All or Nothing were available from the start in private mode matches. Infinity Ward just made adjustments and made them “official” modes online. And did a fairly poor job of it with Dropzone and particularly with Infected.

      Face-Off is technically a new mode, but it ultimately is just smaller maps with a lower player limit. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was made in part due to the idea that fewer players would result in fewer issues with the game’s poorly designed spawn system (that IW has shown itself unable to figure out how to fix since launch) as well as fewer issues with the game’s poorly designed network code (which IW denied was even flawed for months, and has been unable to fix since launch). Mind, they then proceeded to create a map (Aground) that almost allows spawn camping in a 1v1 match! And people saw the same network issues in Face-off that they saw in the regular map modes. (Face Off was also given away for “free” with two maps, at a period when players were really annoyed and were repeatedly asking for MW2 maps to be given away for free. Face Off was hyped as IW listening to players and giving them free maps, while IW ignored the “MW2″ part of the request.)

      Chaos is legitimately new, though. It doesn’t seem to have any major immediate issues either, unlike something like Infected which was riddled with poor design decisions, or at least a lack of consideration for how real matches would work. People seem happy with Chaos mode. I haven’t tried it, because I don’t care about Spec Ops, and am not going to waste money buying a MW3 map pack that has only three small maps.

  13. Salt says:

    Let’s talk powerful builds.

    Scout with the Force of Nature and the “increase clip size” upgrade is very powerful. The key is that reloading fills the whole clip at once, which is normally 2 shots but with the upgrade can be 6 or 7. There’s no increase in the reload time, so you’re soon dishing out huge damage.
    Scouts get healed and health boosted (lots!) by scooping up the cash, so as long as you keep moving and dodge grenades survivability is good. You’re also of course very fast moving, so can dash off to stop a bomb-carrying bot.

    For similar reloading reasons, I assume the Loch and Load for the demoman should be powerful. And of course the Eyelander will be able to get charged up very easily. Game crashing stopped me before I could try it out though.

    What have you found to be omfg wtf imba?

    • RakeShark says:

      I prefer the Soda Popper, the mini-crits definitely help out and are plentiful when you’re running around so much. Mad Milk with slow is almost a must, and with 3 upgrades you can spam it with regularity to keep the waves manageable and your health up. The Fan’O'War seems like it’d be useful against the giants, but they tend to kill me before I get close, and it doesn’t work on the Tank. I’ll have to see about the Sandman, might be a safer bet.

    • SexualHarassmentPanda says:

      Of the builds I have tried, Brass beast heavy with mass ammo and fire speed was pretty damage effective.

      Engineer with the Gunslinger, sentry attack speed, metal regen, and wrench attack speed means you have quite a nasty sentry nest. The only thing that could effectively stop me was the sentry busters, but all you need to do to avoid those is pickup your sentry, dodge the explosion, then replace it. The build time is instant so you are pretty much uneffected if you are careful.

      The Demoman with a Half-zatoichi, movespeed, and crit on kill upgrade means you can rip though bots constatly topping up to full health. Add a charge’n'targe for resistances and maybe a grenade launcher for giants and you will do quite well at cleaning up waves.

      • JB says:

        I’ve found Brass Beast with ammo capacity upgrade and rage knockback very handy too.

    • PoLLeNSKi says:

      I’ve now run through all the maps a few times with most of the classes basically playing vanilla weapons with maybe one change: demo with eyelander for a free speed boost (get heads on early waves or on spy bots) barely used grenade launcher as I just laid stickies on the bomb all game :) scout with f-a-n and milk (never used melee), soldier with buff banner helps out a load on the big guys and tanks, pyro with phlogistonator and flare gun. Then also played with a jarate sniper and brass beast heavy. Still gotta play a full round with the other three classes at some stage… Oh and advanced is ridiculously hard, in a good way :)

    • NekoSniper says:

      First thing I tried was Engie: Widowmaker with maxed-out attack speed and health for every kill.

      It was awesome.

  14. stupid_mcgee says:

    IMO, sticky bombs are the best way to take out the robo-medics. They’re pretty much ignore you, they cluster, and an upgraded Scottish Resistance can tear them to pieces.

    Another thing to take note of: Medic’s uber charges extra fast between rounds. It’s a good idea to uber the demo, get them to put down kritzed stickies before the round starts, and then recharge your uber. That way the all of the demo’s stickies are crits and you have another uber ready for a Soldier oe Heavy or whoever.

  15. silverhammermba says:

    I’m loving the vitality this brings to underused weapons sets (as others have mentioned).

    The Scottish Resistance has never been so fun!

  16. Tei says:

    Has ben released to early, this is a early alpha of the mod. But I love it.

  17. psyk says:

    roll pyro and burn things, the airblast is good as well especially on one of the maps.

  18. ata says:

    The tank seems to be weaker from the rear, melee weapons also work surprisingly well against it.

  19. motherpuncher says:

    I have completed a few maps at this point, really having some fun.

    I find heavies to be very useful. One or two plus a medic are good for the faster mobs that come in big waves. I also find the scout’s soda popper to be badass once upgraded with damage and larger clip size. With someone else aggroing the heavies the soda popper can make quick work of them at close range.

    WIth the tanks I like to concentrate on the tracks. You shoot the armor and it will break off and then it takes more damage. Heavies with 500 ammo are good for taking down a tank.

  20. SkittleDiddler says:

    The few rounds I played were a bit mediocre. Certainly not compelling enough to get me to wait in a twenty-minute long queue just to try again.

  21. goliath1333 says:

    Does an FPS DOTA-clone exist? For some reason this reminded me of that, even if it’s more like a horde mode…

    I think Unreal 3 had a similar mode, but they used an open battlefield and not a 3 lane style.

  22. rustybroomhandle says:

    We’re running a (passworded) server for our community. So far it seems a bit buggy and rather a lot heavier on system load. CPU usage hovering at about 30-40%, but using loads more RAM.

    • Adekan says:

      My utterly rubbish 2ghz dual core 2 gb ram windows XP “server” has been running an MvM rotation since the patch came out. It’s surprisingly always full.

      I have had few issues, one point where the waves stopped coming ( I figure this was a game bug since the console was not producing any errors ) and a spot of lag here or there are the only troubles I’ve had so far.

      EDIT: Speaking of which, it seems they’ve just updated MvM and my server is now out of date, and kicking people. Drat.

  23. Shakermaker says:

    I’ve been having a blast with this game mode. It’s a lot of fun. Managed to finish one mission, but it took a team that worked well together to win. I kinda like the challenge though.

  24. DrScuttles says:

    Just finished my first mission. We did okay up to wave 7, but a couple of players quit so the four of us just couldn’t proceed so we restarted and worked out a much better team. Then a couple of people joined back in and we cut through those robots like a hot knife through something particularly susceptible to damage from hot knives.
    Overall, good messy fun. And with less irritating people than last time I played TF2 properly.

  25. Phinor says:

    Tried to give this a test run earlier today but after being greeted couple of times by invalid password (using the matchmaking, which btw. is soo terribly slow), I went back to playing Sleeping Dogs. I’ve heard rumours of a server browser but I can wait until they patch the matchmaking.

  26. Frank says:

    So I hear that “Ad-hoc connections are not allowed” by any of the servers I used to frequent. I guess this is game over.

  27. Misnomer says:

    “But it’s a hefty addon that you wouldn’t see on Battlefield 3, or CoD: Modern Warfare Whatever, for the price Valve are asking for it. ”

    How very trollish of you.

    But of course BF3 and COD would not have content for this price… they are not free to play games. Their content is not funded the same way.

    Unless of course you look at Call of Duty:World at War Nazi Zombies mode and all the free maps on PC for it. Which is basically the same thing if not more than what you are talking about here.

    So actually yeah… they did.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      Did being the key word here. They did. They no longer do, nor will they ever again.

  28. Phantoon says:

    Maximize a Scout’s jump stat then double jump with a force of nature shot.

    You will soon meet men that talk endlessly about John Madden.

    • Skabooga says:

      AAAAAAAEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

    • megabear says:

      T͠҉H̕͜͜E̕ ̵̶B͞͏LǪ̀͜O҉D ͜͞OF̡ ̀T̕͢HE҉̷ ͠Ì̴͞N̴N҉ÓC̀͠E҉͞N̛T̷́̀ ̵̀W̢͢I͜L҉̀͏L̷ ͞͏FL̨̛O͞͏W̶ ́͘F̡O̵͡R ̸A ́̕͢T̨H͏̧Ò͡͝U͡S͏͜A̡Ń͞҉D̡́ Ỳ̀E̡A͝R҉͏S̵̨

      J̢̭̲̜͔̖̅͆ͥͧ̔͆ͩ͊ͣO͈̱̘͕͓̎͆ͫ̿ͧH̾ͣ­̷̨̻̜̳̪̍̒̓ͥ̿Ǹͫ̈̋͜͏̨̘̱̞͍͍̥͔ ̶̢̩̞͕̹̜̠̌̀́ͣͭ̏͜M̵̨̛͍͓̫͕͖̩̱̥͋̄A­͖̘͍̗͔̰̭̝̥̇̐̚D̡̛̰͖͇̻̥ͤ̐ͤͭͯ̒͢D̿͜­̸̵͔̻E̖̤̲͓̻̭͈̭ͫͥ̓̀̚̚Ņ̛̙͓̩̗̳ͤͣ͞­̬͇

  29. Phantoon says:

    Total sidenote, where in the hell is the article about Portal 2′s Perpetual Testing Initiative now having co-op?

  30. Kaira- says:

    I quite liked the mode, but the more I try to play it via the “Play co-op”-button the more I find that Valve’s matchmaking systems are fucking utterly broken. I don’t find it amusing to queue 20-30 mins to connect to a server to find that
    a) the server is actually empty and no one else is joining it even if you wait 15 minutes
    b) server is running an older version of the game and you get disconnected and get to enjoy the joys of queuing again
    c) “The server is shutting down”. Cue queuing.

    • zeroskill says:

      While I’ve had problems with the matchmaking in TF2 as well, in MvM that is, it surely has nothing to do with the matchmaking system it self. Dota 2 matchmaking works perfect for me, taking seconds before a match is found. I think Valve just doesn’t have enough servers set up at this point, and there arn’t enough community servers up yet.

      • Dominic White says:

        Yeah, the simple mathematics here are that the addition of MvM has brought in a huge influx of players, but only a small percentage of servers – official or otherwise – have converted over. That’s gonna screw matchmaking no matter how you slice it.

  31. ShinRyuuken says:

    It needs some fixing, in all honesty. I’ve yet to win a single match. I’ve gotten to 7 of 8 of one of them, but nope, all the giants. Except, they’re easy but for Demospams. Oh, what’s that? A tank follows and half my team can’t output enough damage. Only four classes are actually useful in this mode, two semi-useful. I like that it can be challenging, but there’s a certain point where challenging becomes too much to handle. Pretty much, a lot of things need health nerfs, or accuracy nerfs. I don’t care if they add more bots to cope with that, just make it manageable.

    • Kaira- says:

      Oh, demospam? That’s little. Giant rapid firing demo… with support from demos and soldiers. It would take a team full of puffed up Pyros to repel that kind of spam.

  32. Driveshaft says:

    When I’m in spectator mode and the bots charge in – no problem.

    When I’m actually in the game though, the frame-rate falls off the cliff.

    I have a good system, so I don’t understand what could be causing this.

  33. FhnuZoag says:

    Some thoughts:

    Engineers suck: They are fine for the earlier waves, but the later waves require running battles chasing down enemies the engineers can’t keep up with. They also take attention away from fighting enemies to protecting sentries – I think sentry busters no longer spawn, if you have nothing to bust. And masses of demomen will destroy your sentries and dispensers instantly. Free up that player slot and get people to bring ammo refill canteens instead.

    Medics also suck: There’s not enough lulls in combat to heal up. Far more effective is the ‘regain 20 health per kill’ skill on each character. They are a must for anyone who is going to be taking significant damage.

    Snipers are probably not worth the trouble, I think.

    Soldiers are awesome with the crit canteen. 6 crit shots will murder a whole lot of things.

    Pyros are awesome and probably a must – a pyro with upgraded damage and heal on kill can just wade in and kill everything instantly.

    Scouts are good too. You need to pick up all the money you can, so get the heal-on-cash-collect skill, to let you just walk in and grab all that money. Failing to pick up 100% of the money (and hence, the bonus) on the earlier waves will generally spell doom later – you’ll always be behind the power curve, and so will pick up fewer and fewer money, and get even fewer upgrades, in a terrible downward spiral of doom.

    Heavies are required for some maps – make damn sure you have the destroy projectiles skill for going up against giant soldiers or demomen. It’s essential.

  34. fart says:

    I’ve been trying since Wednesday.

    The closest I’ve gotten was last night when I only had to wait 8 minutes… I was ecstatic! Single digit wait time! Here we go!

    Then the estimate fluctuated a bit and I waited for a little over 10 minutes but whatever. I finally started to load the game but then… “The server you’re trying to connect to is running an older version of the game”.

    WAT

    :(

  35. Tom Walker says:

    Lessons learned from my first sucessful mission:

    – Put a dispenser just around the corner on the first bottleneck that most of the robots have to go through
    – Station two heavies and a soldier there, blasting continuously
    – Pour all the upgrades into your primary weapon
    – Mann Up mode is easily worth it to avoid the whinging kids who think they know best
    – This game is *really* good.

    Something that bothers me, though – I’m in the queue right now and it tells me there are 426 empty game servers.

    Why are they empty? Why not put the queuing people into them rather than wait for the ones that are already active?

  36. Carra says:

    Ok, I will now have to play more TF2!

  37. joshg says:

    Something I didn’t notice until a good 4-5 hrs into a way-too-late bunch of MVM play: there are DRASTIC difficulty differences depending on which “mission” you’ve taken for a map. The mission selection shows up during the auto-match system – each map has one normal and two “advanced” missions.

    I had one quick game in Mannworks that we breezed through easily. Then I played for two straight hours trying to get past the 5th or 6th waves on Decoy. Finally I clued in that we were on one of the “advanced” missions for Decoy, and I had probably played the normal / easy mission on Mannworks.

    The problem? The only place I’ve seen the mission name show up once you’re in-game is on the “you just f’ed up a wave and have to try again” screen, at which point I’m usually too annoyed to stop and read what it’s telling me (also it usually catches me halfway through typing something to my team along the lines of “maybe if we try more engies/heavies” or “wtf is a spy supposed to actually do in this mode to not suck”).

    If you use the server browser, I don’t think the mission shows up at all. If you tell the auto-match system “give me any mission” I’m not sure if it even tells you which mission you’re stuck with once you arrive. And there’s no way to tell the auto-match system “give me a normal difficulty mission on whichever frickin’ map you want”.

    I hadn’t figured out the vote menu enough to check it out when I played – from what others have said here, we might have been able to vote down to an easier mission. It would’ve helped, especially for the hour when we were stuck with four players and didn’t have anyone else join.

  38. AoXo says:

    Ignoring the issues in joining games, I didn’t find it to be difficult unless you had a weak link in the team – i.e. veteran players will have no major challenges. I also think that the nature of it is highly repetitive and once you’ve played around a bit you won’t be seeing anything too amazing.

  39. joshg says:

    Let’s just keep it simple: this is Dungeon Defenders with more hats.

  40. Tokega says:

    What does “as the angle they fall they take means they’ll fall” mean?

    • Bauul says:

      I think he means the bots are always deposited in the map facing the same direction, so if we simply stand behind them when they spawn you can get the drop on them before they even have a chance to turn around.

  41. soul4sale says:

    Um, I think I just got spoiled, because that was a painfully easy couple of rounds. Had a defensive engineer, a heavy and a pyro doing … DPS, I guess? An offensive engineer covered the main flanking routes, and a scout and my soldier just turned the drop zones into a murder hole. I was ridiculously overpowered by the 3rd or 4th round.

    The bots are DUMB. I was throwing hell at a giant soldier for 10 seconds before he sent the first rocket my way.

    This mode is better suited for people who have extensive experience in sh’mups. Jack up your damage and clip size and LRN2SPAM. It’s all about crowd control.

  42. vaendryl says:

    so in the beginning we had arcades where you needed to pop in a few quarters to play a game on a big huge machine. then the consoles came out and we bought the game and could play as much as we want.

    now we all have big huge machines at home, download the game for free but have to pay a buck to play a game properly anyway. and we call that free, because you only need to pay if you’re not playing the demo version.

    meh

  43. Enkinan says:

    Busy weekend and only got one match in, but it seemed nicely balanced. Frantic as hell, but not impossible by any means. I went heavy and had an engy drop a dispenser around the corner from me. I exploded many, many robots. Planning for the medics + giants is also a must. Our pyro would rush in and airblast the medic away which seemed to do the trick.

    Good fun, can’t wait to play more.

  44. grenadeh says:

    At least you were able to play it. Sorry but “Estimated wait time – anything” is unacceptable to me and I say fuck that and quit and just play regular TF2. It may just be me. It may just be the fact that in the old days of WON, it literally never took more than 12 seconds to launch HL and get in a server. So all this new shit with games where the matches literally last less time than the time it took to get in them, and all these queues and such, they’re nonsense. I fear I shant experience Mann vs machine because of it outside of lan.