Heavy’s Lighter Fight: Arena Mode

The Heavy update info-flow continues to inundate us, this time with information about Arena Mode. But what’s Arena Mode? “Arena features smaller maps that play out in shorter periods of time. The round ends once one team has no players left in the arena, or when the central capture point has unlocked and been captured. Rounds tend to be very fast and highly competitive, with an emphasis on your team’s class makeup and your plan to counter the opposing team’s class choices. Arena mode is great for smaller matches of three vs. three players, while still comfortably supporting huge knockdown twelve-on-twelve brawls.” There are two new maps for this, and a couple of reworked areas of previous maps. Sounds interesting. But what do you think, opinion-persons?


  1. Dorsch says:

    Shamelessly quoting my comment on the heavy update article from last week:
    “Dorsch says:

    I don’t think it will be Hunted because they said that Gold Rush is sort of a twenty-first-century-version of Hunted. My guess/hope is a counterstrike-like sudden death gametype where you have an objective (maybe a cp), but when you die, you stay dead, on maps that don’t encourage turtling. I really like sudden death rounds.

    August 13th, 2008 at 12:01 am”

    I’m a happy man.

  2. Mr Pink says:

    I think this sounds fun. I think medics are going to be extra important in this mode, since they state there will be a lack of health kits and water.

    Also, yay for the alpine environment! Looks good!

  3. rupert says:

    loving the alpine look :D

  4. sockpuppetclock says:

    The backgrounds in the alpine map are just amazing…

  5. The Hammer says:

    This sounds like a great game-mode! I do sometimes like quick fire rounds better, and the new setting, Alpine, just makes it better! It looks like an even fresher game because of it!

  6. Theory says:

    I think I’m going to like it, for reasons like these.

    This does sound a lot like a 21st century Counter-Strike, one where a player is less likely to be able to dominate everyone else simply by having faster reflexes.

  7. James says:

    So when they said “five new arenas” they meant “two new arenas, and three remakes of shitty maps”.

  8. poullos says:

    “Shitty maps” remade can be good maps for this mode.

    Seems fun, fast and it’s…free. I can’t complain. I will only complain when I see people whining about free content with more mods, maps, etc. ;)

  9. Dorsch says:

    The Granary middle point is very much the opposite of shitty – it’s awesome. The other 2 middle points aren’t that bad either.

    I think you don’t like the Push gametype, since it devolves into turtling far too often on some public servers, but with organized teams, these maps are lots of fun.

    Arena fixes the turtling issues, so let’s see how that turns out.

  10. arqueturus says:

    Isn’t this basically sudden death mode with a single capture point?

    We all love Sudden Death mode don’t we?

  11. monchberter says:

    Wow, Valve, with this update you are really spoiling us!

    Personally, the reason i quit on Counterstrike, apart from the complete reliance on twitch skills and all players reverting to AK/Colt/Deagle was the amount of time i spent spectating so i’m approaching this mode with a sense of foreboding, although TF2 is so much more given to co-op and i can see Arena being a great test of partnership work.

    And look! Focusing on CP’s means that spectating will hopefully be kept brief!

    (apologies for ferrero rocher steal if already overused)!

  12. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    I’d have preferred something new rather than a heavily reworked sudden death mode, but I’ll reserve judgement until I play it. If anything this feels like Valve are throwing a bone to the competitive community.

    Oh, and Lumberyard looks very nice.

  13. espy says:

    Well chosen new setting, considering that Switzerland actually has a defense system that incorporates bunkers and gun emplacements disguised as rock faces, sheds, barns and quaint little chalets :D

  14. yns88 says:

    First note: it’s basically Sudden Death: The Game.

    Second note: everybody stopped playing with sudden death on as soon as there was an option to turn it off.

    Not sure what to think here.

  15. espy says:

    Does Arena Mode have crits? Because that would be a bit silly.

  16. Naurgul says:

    Isn’t this basically sudden death mode with a single capture point?

    We all love Sudden Death mode don’t we?

    First note: it’s basically Sudden Death: The Game.

    Second note: everybody stopped playing with sudden death on as soon as there was an option to turn it off.

    Not sure what to think here.

    There’s a difference between sudden death and this, though. In sudden death, you had to get the last CP to win. In arena, you only need the middle one. So, turtling -which probably is the reason sudden death failed- shouldn’t be an issue.

    I personally think it’s a welcome addition, although I’m pretty convinced that I will still prefer the traditional objective-based, respawn-enabled maps. I only hope arenas won’t dominate the servers so I can still play the other modes.

    PS: On a less controversial note, the new Alpine-themed environment looks gorgeous.

  17. luphisto says:

    this mode looks intensly badass. im looking forward to seeing some all out battles on the granery remake.
    Also the new alpine map looks bloody awesome. :D

  18. mist says:

    Sudden Death didn’t work because there were 2 objectives: defend your own cp/intel, and capture that of the other team. Defenders have a better life expectancy, so everyone camped it up.

    With this arena mode, there is only 1 cp. So the team that “camps” at the cp wins, the team that doesn’t camp at the CP loses. So, everyone wants to camp at the cp. Which gives a battle at the cp, which is good.

    edit: I’m too slow -_-

    And yeah, I’m also a bit scared of crits in this mode. Small teams no respawn —> Crit-rocket right out of spawn = victory.

  19. Kevlmess says:

    Some people seem to miss the point that the single CP (along with the map design) serves to drive the match to a quick conclusion, something you don’t see in your typical Sudden Death.

    Edit: Arrr, beaten to it! Twice!

  20. poullos says:

    They used mirrored CP maps for arena: Well, Granary, Badlands.
    And I don’t think it will be hard to mod this to CTF for those who prefer it.

  21. itsallcrap says:

    I don’t think I’m going to take more than a passing interest in Arena mode, by the sounds of things.

    I’ll definitely have a good explore of the Alpine environment, though. Probably as a Sniper, given the number of fat guys that should be toddling about in the middle-distance…

  22. Scott says:

    I’d agree that crits should be removed for Arena, however I think crit-causing effects (Kritzkrieg, KGB) should remain, as it would actually give people a reason to use them. :P

  23. Rosti says:

    I’m pretty excited to give this a go; I’ve played very few Sudden Deaths, but when I have the teams have been mostly aggressive and it gives a Medic player (…like me…) a wonderful sense of achievement knowing that, whilst I didn’t kill anyone, these 2-3 players are alive because of me.

    So yeah, Sudden Death with an incentive to fight? I’m in. Might even convince some friends to be a little baby 3 to 5 man team.

  24. Alex says:

    The thing is, although this is CS-styled, the fact that the games are supposed to be fast-paced and the presence of the CP means that a lot of the problems with post-death spectating in CS are removed; fast pace means rounds are shorter and thus that you ideally won’t spend that much time spectating, and the CP means that it won’t just be two guys running around opposite ends of the map for half an hour looking for each other.

    Plus, small teams means that it’s a great way to convince people to join low-population servers, rather than waiting for a spot to open up in big ones.

    So I’m hopeful.

  25. Neuromante says:

    Camping fortress 2 incoming. Hope no, but a Counter-Strike type round game already failed in DoD (anyone remember para maps?), and I don’t think it will fit well on TF2.

    Additionaly, it’ could be “bit” frustrating got killed by a spy or a “ey-i’m-in-the-other-corner-of-the-map” sniper in this kind of matches.
    Don’t like the round-type games, after all.

  26. gulag says:

    I’m all for this new game mode and love the new alpine look, it’s just what Norman Rockwell ordered!

    However, I am desperate to play TF2 Hunted. The VIP maps from the first game are the ones I have the fondest memories of. They made for really gripping games, as the VIP’s escort was slowly eroded and the dilemma of when to hide and when to run became more pressing as the timer ticked down. Goldrush is good, but it’s a very different beast.

    We the people demand our umbrellas!

    (Can’t wait for the Heavies Picnic this week. Nom Nom Sandvich.)

  27. darkripper says:

    I imagine it a lot like the first battle for the central point on Badlands in a pro game or at least on a decent server. Fast, beautiful, terrible. I hope for nice, contained maps, cause a larger space might be a problem.
    Played with no-crits and class limits might be also a good training tool for aspiring competitive players.

  28. CrashT says:

    “Given the use of the word Arena I wonder if they are considering some kind of straight Team-DM, or maybe a King Of The Hill style Single Control point affair.”

    Well I wasn’t far off…

  29. Forceflow says:

    Meet the Lumberjack.

    Honestly, yes.

  30. egg says:

    It’s a sad thing (well, maybe not) that it will never become more popular than the original CP mode. It would be WoW Arena the way it meant to be. Because, you know, you’ll be able to tell wtf is going on.

    I’m a spectating kind of guy, when it comes to “e-sports”.

    But anyway, I’m already excited with the possible matchups on 3v3. Probably everyone out there will have a medic and a soldier. The third one is a mistery. I for one am fond of snipers, but I’m leaning towards demomen and HWs. Pyros maybe?

    Would ubercharges still work as usual? Because that would be silly in some situations.

  31. CrashT says:

    In such a small map actually managed to get an Uber would be a skill in itself surely? So deploying them would be a fair way to reward a team that could stay alive long enough to activate one.

  32. Forceflow says:

    I think ubers will make the arena gameplay more interesting. You’ll see them running and hiding when they hear that uber sound :)

  33. Pus Filled Sac says:

    I hope this doesn’t lure pro-gaming to TF2. A good community will be flushed down the toilet if that happens.

  34. cyrenic says:

    I’m guessing pro-gamers were a large part of the motivation for putting this mode in. The other TF2 modes didn’t seem that great for ultra competitive play. Just a guess.

    I’m much more interested in the new Payload map and the new heavy weapons. Yay for a new environment, though.

  35. Trezoristo says:

    I’ll have to play it to see if it’s my thing but I’m hopefull. I can really imagine that, with a scout being able to end the game in seconds, both teams will be clustered closely around the central point. Picking the right moment to attack and having the right classes in the team can totally make the difference.

    I’m not so much worried about camping, moreso that this gamemod might not work so well in a casual server. If your team has a couple of people on it that directly charge into battle and get killed early, that might give your team a significant disadvantage.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to finding it out. In any case Valve is to be commended for the large amount of after-launch support. This is one big update and I really hope they can keep it up and do the other classes as well. I hope for their sake that the updates are convincing more people are buying the game. Alternatively they can always charge Xbox360 and PS3 players for the content :).

  36. PogoP says:

    Hmm, I’d much have preferred a Hunted gameplay mode. I can imagine the VIP being the sort of ‘evil genius’ type that is the one employing the Blu or Red team to be his escort, as well as being the one behind the secret bases of whichever team, seen in all the existing maps.

    I’m thinking he’d look like the overweight, German bloke in the game ‘Evil Genius’.

  37. orb says:

    I’m imagining a capture point surrounded by 6 snipers.

  38. Fumarole says:

    Damn people. Free content and still some of you whine? Some people can just never be pleased.

    How about we all wait to play it, eh?

  39. KBKarma says:

    Hey, Gulag! Didn’t know you were around.

    This looks rather interesting. Just the other day, myself and some friends despaired of the fact that TF2 is not really playable as a 3v3. Now, BAM! This might even work as a (rather limited) 1v1, allowing for tests to see who the better Sniper is, for example.

    Also, I predict Meet The Spy. Because he can disguise as a Lumberjack…

  40. Jayof9s says:

    I don’t like counter strike for a lot of reasons and I hate the sudden death feature at the end of some maps in TF2. I know I won’t be playing any arena maps, played that type of thing too many times in the past and never enjoyed it. Pretty disappointing they made this the new map type. Even with a central objective it doesn’t seem terribly fun.

    And yes its free content, but I don’t see where that removes the ability for us to form and express an opinion about if we like it or not.

  41. Klepackage says:

    I’ve never liked crits in this game. However, the random freebie crits are the worst.

    Arena mode sounds like CSS with random crits. I’m not holding my breath.

  42. Erlam says:

    I’m not feeling this mode. I love TF2 because it’s fun, casual, and the classes are fairly well balanced.

    This mode is going to be a problem with classes like demomen – if they have two that cover the doors you have to get through, you’re fucked. And given that you don’t respawn, it’ll be even worse.

    My other, more pressing problem is that once this mode comes out, people won’t play the old ones, and you’ll get a player divide – ‘pro’ Arena maps, and ‘anti’ arena maps.

    Not to mention crit rockets will not only be annoying, but will literally end your gameplay for a few minutes. No thanks.


  43. Pheonix K says:

    @ Erlam: I don’t think the “player divide” will be much of a problem after the first month. For about a month after Goldrush was released, the server list were very Goldrush heavy. Then people started to tire, and now you see plenty of the old maps (and lots and lots of custom maps, woot customs) getting played. For a few weeks, the non-Arena servers will be looking a little lonely, but the system should equalize after some time.

    As long as there are still people on Cube Soccer servers, life will be good.

  44. MacBeth says:

    I’m continually amazed by the people who say ‘this update will break TF2 because X will happen’ as if we didn’t know for a gold-plated fact that Valve playtest their games within an inch of their lives. Do you honestly think the pre-objection you came up with, based on a few minutes thinking about the couple of paragraphs we’ve been told about the game so far, outweighs the fact that the geniuses who made the game will have been playing it and tweaking it for the last few weeks? Honestly… give them some credit!

    <3 Valve, obviously…

  45. DragonSix says:

    Counter Strike… The game were spectator mode is a huge feature… no thanks.

  46. Sharpless says:

    I was reading this over on ShackNews and this was met with virtually nothing but whining. Glad to see that RPS’s readers are a little more balanced.

    I think this is awesome. After all, what gamer in their right mind wouldn’t want more options? If you don’t like it, don’t play the gametype.

  47. Saflo says:

    Lumberyard looks great. Even better than it did in Episode Two.

  48. Jahkaivah says:

    What about the shift in Class value?

    My experiance with sudden death always shows a massive change on which classes you should play. This new Arena mode will more than likely have the same effect…

    Medics might go from useful to CRUCIAL, as they prevent the crippling factor of death in the game.

    In a similer effect, high health classes like Soldier and Heavy might become more valuebale due to their abbility to survive confrontations.

    But of course this may have negative effects, what if the spy goes from “useful when breaking the defense” to “too dangerous to be worth it”?

    The idea of using a Scout could become laughable unless Valve think of something.

    As for engineer… huge problem… not only does the class itself get crippled by being forced to play on unsecure territory, but the other clases who were partially designed to have ways of dealing with sentries will be impacted as well.

    Not saying it wont work out… this is Valve we are talking about, but I will be interested to see how they handle this.

  49. The Unshaven says:

    Meet the Sandvich is up, and is Awesome!

    link to steamgames.com

  50. Koldun(as) says:

    There’s nothing like 20 minute defense against an equally skilled team in dustbowl.
    I doubt this arena thing will become as popular as cp or ctf maps, but well, it’s a welcome addition.
    I especially like the part where 3v3 becomes enjoyable.