Monday, December 28, 2009

TF2 Recent Thoughts

Crafting items into hats is a good idea, even though you need something like 220 items to have good odds of getting a specific hat. I crafted a Pyro's Beanie on my main account, and I'm only one drop away from being able to craft an item on my alt.

I just wish they'd implement trading. I have two Heavy hats, and both Spy hats. (Camera Beard no longer counts as a hat, everyone has one, many people have several.) I'm sure there are people out there who would trade their dupes for my Tough Guy's Toque.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Soldier/Demo Weapon Thoughts

I have all the new items from the War Update, and I have to say I have mixed feelings. I have serious balance concerns about almost all of the weapons.

Soldier "Scotland is not a real country! You are an Englishman with a dress!"

The Direct Hit may be overpowered, it's hard to tell exactly how much damage it does, especially with the patch that just changed how much damage it does. I'll tell you one thing: it does a lot.

The Buff Banner seems to be quite balanced. You have to get into the thick of it to charge it up, so it's a game of risk calculation: getting into that fight might get you fully charged, but it might kill you right before you finish charging, too. Once you actually trigger the banner, it's totally awesome. 14 seconds of mini-crits for a pretty large area is incredibly significant, especially when your own Direct Hit rockets are buffed to the point where you can one-shot snipers/scouts/engies.

At first, I had a problem with the Equalizer being so good, I'm against items that are purely better than their alternatives. At the moment, the Pick is technically not purely better than the shovel, as you can't be medi-gunned when you're holding it, but it is a lot better than the shovel regardless. Previously, the shovel was the least damaging weapon in the game, so I think soldier melee needed a boost. Now they just need to boost the shovel to make it an honest choice. (Have you seen a Soldier at really low HP plow through an enemy team? Devastating)

Demoman "I'll notify your Next of Kin... That you SUCKED!"

I'm going to skip all the lead in: Everyone knows there's an overpowered weapon in this update, and Valve better nerf it before the game is completely ruined.

The Grenade Launcher. It's good at close, medium, and far distance. It does enough damage to one-shot low health classes, and two-shot everyone but a Heavy. It's the most effective weapon against a Sentry Gun. The pills go faster than the regular Rocket Launcher, and are nigh-impossible to dodge, unless you're pretty far away. Even when you do dodge them, they stick around to deal ~60 damage to whoever is unlucky enough to stand in their enormous blast radius.

The Sword and Shield are essentially an enormous boost to the Grenade Launcher. If you get 4 heads with the Eyelander, you have over 210 HP, along with Damage resistance that essentially doubles your HP against most classes. You also go about as fast as a scout. This lets you use the grenade launcher with impunity, and still allows you an occasionally instant-kill with the sword. If anything gets nerfed, it's going to be this. (There are few things more frustrating than Direct Hitting a Demoman in midair, only to see you did about 40 damage.)

PS. There are a lot of new visual options that default to being disabled: Go into your advanced multiplayer options and turn basically everything on. The new medic stuff is really good, it shows you where people are even when they're not calling for medic, and being able to see how much damage you're doing is incredibly useful, both for gauging how much HP the enemy has, and to train yourself to be more effective.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

War Update Thoughts

The War Update is TODAY! Have you killed your share of Demomen? Apparently not, as they've essentially caught up. Although I hope Soldiers win, I can't contribute enough kills to be significant, so I'm not going to kill myself trying to amass a few kills.

Unfortunately, Valve released the Achievements all at once, so we couldn't run the contest where we guess their purpose. Now I'm just thinking about how hard the achievements are. Quite a few of them are very difficult. Not as difficult as the stupid Medic achievements, but still harder than average.

It looks like they're not tying achievements to weapon unlocks initially, like in the Spy/Sniper Update.

Most of the new unlocks are pretty obvious: The Direct Hit can be worked out mathematically, the sword and shield turn the demoman into a melee fiend, the Pickaxe is a powerful melee, and the new sticky launcher seems to be less powerful than the normal one, but I'm not sure. The mystery element is the Bugle.

There are too many unknown factors that go into the Bugle to make any definite predictions, but here are my thoughts:
  • 14 Seconds are a long time, it's about 50% longer than an Uber/Kritz
  • Minicrits are obviously not as good as real crits, but they are still extremely good. As I've mentioned in a previous post, they don't just increase damage by 35%, they also prevent damage from falling off with distance. This means the damage increase can actually be as much as 150%.
  • I think we can say a banner is worth the same as an uber, if you can apply it to two or more people. What determines the value now is how difficult it is to charge up.
  • We don't know if the bugle confers crits to the user. The writing says "ally", so probably not. This is problematic; the guy who got his "rage meter" up to 100% is probably pretty good, and he's the only guy not getting mini crits.
  • The area the bugle affects is also an unknown (and incredibly significant) variable. If it's small area, that limits the classes that can usefully use the item: Pyros would be limited to using flares, or repelling attackers. (Come to think of it, Kritz Pyros turn reflections into crits, would mini-critting Pyro turn reflections into mini-crits?)
  • Regardless of how big the area of effect is, Heavies, Soldiers, and Demomen are going to get the best bonus out of this. I suppose Snipers could use their SMG's, they could get some good damage with the damage drop-off eliminated.
So, is the Bugle worth it? I'll need to know the two most important variables (Charge difficulty and Area of Effect) before I can say for sure, but I certainly want to try it out.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Demo Sword and Shield

I assume you've seen the Demoman's new equipment. Most unlockables for TF2 have been things that change the class's role in a mild way: bow and arrow makes for a mobile sniper, but he still shoots at guys from a distance, Backburner encourages attacking from behind, but you still run at people with the hopes of them burning to death. The Eyelander and Chargin' Targe are a different animal all-together.

The sticky-launcher is an odd item: it's good at anything but the longest and closest ranges. It can get instant-kills with a couple seconds of preparation. If a Demoman is hiding at the end of a narrow tunnel, there are few ways to approach him and not be killed without even seeing him. Additionally, the stickies themselves do a lot of damage, and can be detonated in mid-air, making aiming a lot less difficult, (especially since they have the largest blast radius of any TF2 explosive).

Let's compare that to the Shield. By itself, the shield makes you the toughest pill-shooting guy on the planet, with essentially double health against explosives and fire. And you'd be capable of an occasionally devastating charge that goes faster than a scout. If nothing else, he could use it to retreat without possibility of being captured. (Unless it requires some sort of cartoony "wind-up" period, where he takes a step back before he charges. That would explain the difference between medium and long-distance charges in the explanation: different wind-up times.)

With the Sword and Shield together, the Demoman becomes something more like a pyro that gets bonuses when he gets kills. Charging people that have become isolated looks like it will be a devastating strategy; you can get a guaranteed critical hit with the shield, and get the health and speed bonus to hit the next one even faster and harder. The only problem I see is that it'll be almost worthless against a large group, unless you get them from behind.

The charge in particular raises so many mechanical questions: will you be seeing yourself from third person, like the scout's "bonk" drink? Will you be able to "pull out" of a charge? Will there be that "wind-up" period before you can execute the charge? (If there is a wind-up period, that would actually remind me of the stickies; you lurk around the corner, then trigger the attack as the enemies approach, then you get an instant kill.)

PS. It looks like the Sword/Pickaxe theory from the monkey comic was legit, we can expect the Pickaxe for the soldier today. I don't really care for it thematically. Soldiers did use entrenching tools like shovels, but it's not like all they did was dig holes. I would have expected something more like a trench knife, much more soldier-ey.

PPS. A while ago, some people tried to do a "medieval" game on CP_Castle, natch. You could only use Huntsman, Jarate, and Kukri as Sniper, and you could use the Flamethrower, (but only to ignite arrows,) and the axe as a Pyro. All the other classes didn't have appropriately medieval weapons. But with the Demoman's new stuff, it's like an SCA meeting in TF2 Land.

Monday, December 14, 2009

War Update Thoughts

It looks like Soldiers are going to win the War, they've been ahead consistently since the beginning. The fact that the gap is narrowing by percentage is concerning, but the margin is still large enough for my comfort.

Since it's an update week, I'm obsessively checking my feed reader and the blog itself to check for today's update, (which I imagine will be the melee weapons hinted at in the secret link from the Saxton Hale comic, the sword and pickaxe). While reading my feeds, I noticed Age of Conan is completely free to play until level 21. I then heard the content from levels 1-20 is the best part anyway. With a price of 0$, I was sold. After all, I thought, I can play this until the blog updates, right?

I underestimated the power of updates, though. While Valve can delay a blog update like a boss, Age of Conan has to download years of content to my computer before I can see the starting island. So here I am, waiting for two interminable processes.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Soldier War Strategy

Turns out I was partially right with my last prediction: soldiers and demos are competing for an item, it's just there's only one item at stake, not the whole update. (I wonder what they've designed that works for both classes? I've been meaning to write a post about how Soldier and Demo are mirrors of each other, like pyro/heavy, and Scout/Engie, but that'll wait for another time.)

You may be wondering how to win it for the good guys, the Soldiers. Mostly, just playing Soldier as hard as you can should work if you're good. Target Demos first, except for maybe Medics. (Come to think of it, targeting medics, then demos should always have been my strategy.) If it looks like a Demo has you cornered, jump into holes to your death, but don't kill yourself through the console or with a rocket if they've done any damage to you; they'll still get the kill. Play more carefully, if you're at low health, don't be afraid to let your team lose if it means not dying to a demo. If nothing else, try to get killed by

If you're not so good with Soldier, run Medic. If you want to be a team player, only heal Soldiers, never Demos. Try to take health packs before Demos can get to them, even if you have to get hurt to pick them up. Remember, the Soldiers on the other team are on your side too.

I wonder if Soldiers will get an attitude of just nodding to each other as they pass by. The only problem with that strategy is that any Soldier I don't kill could be killed by an "allied" Demoman. I've seen some Soldiers in good positions against Demos and just walked away, but I don't think we'll ever see a fully-fledged peace treaty.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Demo/Soldier Update?

You've probably heard of the announcement made concerning the Demo/Soldier "Friendship" business. I have a new theory about it.

What if it's not an update for either class? What if it's a stat-tracking contest where the "faction" that gets more kills, for example, gets to have the next update? That would explain the Competition idea.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Cultural Values

Why do we value things that produce nothing for ourselves or for society? It's a serious question.

I don't know the numbers, but millions of people are employed in industries that produce nothing: Gambling, Sports, etc. It's not that no one should gamble (Although that would be a good life strategy), or that no one should participate in sports. The question is: "Why do we have professional leeches on society?" If there were no professional sporting facilities or broadcasts, we could spend the same money on nothing at all, and society would be better off because there would be no overhead. If Tiger Woods was payed millions of dollars for watching TV instead of golfing, society would be no worse off.

I just wonder about how much labour is devoted to things that benefit no one. Surely, this labour could be driven into institutions that feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and cure the sick. You know, what Jesus said we should do, and what few Christians do? (Church decorations also fall into this wasted category. If the Catholic Church tried to live up to Jesus' ethics, they probably wouldn't have vaults full of gold.)

Friday, December 04, 2009

Star Wars Cartoon

This Star Wars Cartoon is rather poor quality. Episode 5 of this season is a good example: The entire narrative of the episode is, "Go kill those guys", They do.

It would be OK for a movie to have a 20 minute sequence about an invasion of a hostile force. That's just about standard for most war movies. But those war movies still have the currency of the character development in earlier parts of the film. This Star Wars battle means nothing, because none of the characters change as a result of it.

The Clone Wars of the show's title seem to resemble modern insurgencies, battles are won or lost, but there's no change in the character of the war. If the war isn't changing, and the characters aren't changing, that means nothing happened at all.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Modern Warfare 2 Thoughts

They were right about Modern Warfare being 5 hours, it took me five hours and eleven minutes to beat the campaign. Like Yahtzee said, most of that time was hiding in a corner waiting for the blood to fall out of my eyes.

TVTropes likes to talk about the separation between cutscene powers and powers in game. MW2 gives a great example. In a session, you can be shot by any gun several times and just shrug it off. When the custscene starts, you're shot by a single pistol once, and you die.

Apparently the player just isn't a good jumper in this game, you're always needing to be caught by your allies in a dramatic moment.

Remarkably, this game goes back to the idea of explosive barrels. Haven't we evolved beyond that? It adds nothing to the game.

Have you seen The Rock? Apparently the designers of the game have too.

You may know that this is a hyper-jingoistic paranoid fantasy of American patriotism. Many of the cutscenes -disguised as gameplay by letting you turn your head- can be performed one handed, if you're feeling particularly patriotic.

This is just a minor quibble, but there's no reason for the team in Russia to have a live communication feed with the team in Afghanistan. That is, there's no reason until the Dan Brown-esque betrayal by the authority figure you trusted.

Speaking of the betrayal, it's hard for me to feel less betrayed. I've played Modern Warfare 1 and 2, and I couldn't tell you a single detail about a single character in either game other than their accents. If you want us to care about your characters, maybe you should give them some character.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

L4D2 Thoughts

I've been enjoying L4D2; I still maintain that we were deceived and betrayed, but that doesn't make it a bad game.

Apparently there's an system of selection for the production of zombies:

"Regular folk" -the average humans of normal weight and height in boring clothing- become regular zombies.

Fat people that wear sweatpants become Boomers.

Skanky ladies become Spitters; I don't know what their skankiness has to do with having Acid Reflux, though. (Insert joke here)

Douchebags that wear hoodies become Hunters. (It seems like Hunters do more damage once they have you pinned. I think it's probably a buff to keep up with the other zombie classes.)

Really tiny people become jockeys (It doesn't seem possible that they're children, there aren't nearly enough. Presumably, Valve decided to remove children from the games to avoid frightening/concerning people with having to mow down waves of toddlers. This results in even worse thoughts afterward: if they're not around now, they must have been eaten. There's no way they could have escorted every single human child out of the infected area.)

Smokers become Smokers. (It's a good thing I'm here to explain these things to you people)

El_Dawg, from the El_Blawg, proposed the idea that people who abuse steroids/Human Growth Hormone become Tanks. Stay away from Baseball stadiums when the zombie apocalypse comes.

Emo girls become Witches. I wonder why so many emo people were hanging around a sugar mill for the Hard Rain campaign of L4D2? (By the way, Hard Rain is the best level Valve has ever produced, in any game. Some of the best atmosphere I've seen in any media.)

Tom Robinson becomes the Charger. I'm not sure where the rest of them come from.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Space Logic

L4D is out, theoretically, so I've been thinking about Star Trek while waiting for the game to let me play. There are some silly clich├Ęs in the show, especially the 2-D nature of space. Only in Wrath Of Khan does someone note that all the ships are essentially on the same plane, and maybe they should take advantage of that fact?

Anyway, everyone knows that our galaxy is a disc, and that you get more matter the closer you get to the center of the disc. Naturally, there is also more matter on the center plane of the disc as well. If spaceships used free floating particles in space for fuel, (which canon says is not the case), it would be most advantageous to stay as close as possible to that center level. Of course, it's not significant enough to put people as close as they are in the show, but it's an interesting idea, at least.

This pulling fuel from space would also mean that ships couldn't battle in one area without exhausting it of particles; battles around fixed locations would favour those with better resource management. Moving battles would favour those being pursued, since they would get first access to the particles.

In case you think using space as fuel is silly, it has been proposed by those cleverer than me. Current scientific thought says that there isn't enough matter in space to make it worthwhile, but we are always discovering new things. In Science Fiction, particularly Star Trek, increasing the amount of Hydrogen floating in Deep Space would probably be the least far-fetched thing in the show.

All this is never going to be used, so I'll settle for asking for a new Star Trek TV show that keeps somewhat loyal to its roots. The last thing we need is 24 in space, however appealing that may be to middle management.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A New Challenger!

When TF2 was on sale for real cheap, I got it. After all, 2.50 is basically nothing. Naturally, this gives me a chance to earn achievements again. My policy for this new account is to only earn achievements in regular gameplay. I may go out of my way to get a taunt kill, but I won't talk to a friend on the other team to get him to stand still and wait to be killed. In my first day, I got 59 achievements.

If I had been getting cooperation from friends, I'm sure I could have gotten more. I wonder how many achievements you could get in one day, assuming that you're using no mods?

Anyway, here's the list:

Scared Stiff, Ghastly Gibus Grab, Attack o' Lantern, Costume Contest, Hard to Kill, House Call, Bedside Manner, Camp Fire, Iron Kurtain, Communist Mani-Fisto, Rationing, Be Polite, The Last Wave, Socket to Him, Quadruple Bypass, I Fry, Next of Kindling, Second Degree Burn, Weenie Roast, Spontaneous Combustion, Flamethrower, Nemesis, Red Oktoberfest, Rasputin, Marxman, Dodgers 1, Giants 0, Dead Heat, Team Doctor, Double Blind Trial, Slash and Burn, Pyrotechnics, BarbeQueQ, Freezer Burn, Pyro Milestone 1, Candy Coroner, Gun Down, Batter Up, Pop Fly, Side Retired, Set the Table, Show Trial, Counter Espionage, High Value Target, Dynasty, Constructus Interruptus, You Only Shiv Thrice, Spy Milestone 1, No-Hitter, Identity Theft, Spies Like Us, Burn Notice, Midwife Crisis, Surgical Prep, Trauma Queen, Combined Fire, Fire and Forget.

I think it's pretty funny that I got dozens of achievements before I get things like World Traveller.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

TF2 Roundup

It's been a while since I posted about TF2, so here's a few things I've been thinking:

Demoman is still overpowered. NerfNow!

Doing a control scheme for Spy is tricky, he needs access to 6 different abilities at any given time.

Getting rid of viewmodels has really helped me aim guns. (Viewmodels are the visual representation of the gun you're holding)

I got another copy of TF2 when it was only 2.50, I should have waited until the next day, when it was only 2.49!

It's been some work to get all the achievements for this new account. In particular, the Medic achievements are just unreasonably hard. I'm hoping to get a randomly dropping Ubersaw.

Have you seen the TF2 Backpack examiner? It's quite awesome. It now has a trading option, although it doesn't actually let you trade, it just establishes connections between people who'd like to trade.

The Trading section has a new page to see trading statistics: how much a given item is desired, and how often people want to give it away. According to the page, the Gibus is the least popular hat, with the paper bag right behind. Bill's Hat is the rarest hat given.

The previous statistic is skewed by the fact that the gibus and paper bag are much easier to get, and therefore more common. Much more telling is the "most desired" statistic regarding the hats. The Tyrant's Helm, one of my personal favorites, is the most desired, with the Officer's Ushanka, (which I have!) right behind. (Since I have the stainless pot too, I actually have two of the top three hats)

If you discount special event hats, it's clear that nobody wants the "hatless" version of the characters. The only hat as disliked is the Trophy Belt, which makes sense, since it's almost impossible to recognize as a special hat.

One Last thing:

Monday, November 02, 2009


I plowed through Diablo 2.5, also known as Torchlight. If you've heard anything about the game, you probably know how absurdly similar it is to Diablo games, from little details of the item management to general theme and gameplay.

I found some of the control scheme changes to be nice; I don't like to use my left hand to activate abilities, and they let you bind several attacks to your mouse. I would have preferred the ability to bind whatever I liked to whichever key I liked, like I do with TF2. In fact, Torchlight has no customization of controls whatsoever, unless you count putting spells into spell slots.

There is a period of the game where Ron Paul apparently joined in the fight against the demons, since someone must have left behind all those Gold Standards.

There are only three classes, but they're extremely versatile to build into different directions. I made a guy with guns, since guns are totally cool. I don't remember DII too well, but I think guns are something new to Torchlight. My M.O. was to summon some zombies to act as front-line troops, then spam gunfire, shooting a Ricochet if there were many enemies lined up.

I spent a lot of time crafting gems, but never finding a weapon worthy of improvement. I had an extremely good Bow about halfway through the game, but by the time I had re-enchanted it to the point of it having an amazing suite of abilities, it was behind the curve of DPS compared to random weapons I was finding on the ground. This left me choosing a weapon with essentially no special abilities that did twice as much damage. For the rest of the game, I was waiting for another Yellow (Unique) weapon to crop up so I could start with a fresh gun and turn it into something truly epic, but I beat the game before I found another interesting weapon.

I really don't see the point in having a bunch of dropped items that do essentially nothing; if I have a magic pair of sandals with a base defense of 25, I really, really, really don't need a pair of shoes with no magic and defense 10. Why not just give me some gold?

El_Dawg, of the El Blawg, tells me that gold was essentially worthless in the Diablo games, since it couldn't be converted into anything useful. I'm pleased to report that gold is very good in Torchlight, since it lets you re-enchant your weapons with additional effects, or add additional gem slots. Also, gold is retrieved automatically as you walk by it. It makes me wish for some sort of automatic system of picking up all items. (That reminds me: if you have nothing equipped in an item slot, then pick up an appropriate item, you'll automatically equip it, a nice little feature. I've died in more than one game for lack of equipping starting armour.)

Anyway, if you like Diablo style action, Torchlight does it very proficiently, and only costs 20$.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Update

This Halloween update for TF2 has an extremely small amount of new information about the TF2 backstory, even assuming it's true. But all we knew before this was contained in a single paragraph, so this is actually a windfall in comparison.

So, what have we learned? According to the Last Will and Testament of Zephaniah Mann, he ran a company investing in the unsettled Americas, and divided the company between his two sons, Blutarch and Redmond, (Clearly Blu and Red, just look at the family portrait!) leaving an armament company to his Aide and Tracker, Barnabas Hale, who is presumably Saxton Hale's father.

The announcer is apparently the "Maidservant" of Mann, again refer to the family portrait. She was given a fortune of wealth and deeds. I guess the assumption is that Red and Blu are fighting over control of what was left to them, and support of the announcer, who we now know is named Elizabeth.

A portion of the will is covered by sand, describing another beneficiary of the will. This mystery figure is left the "Entirety of [His]... [The Will is cut off here]... and swear you to utmost secrecy in its keeping." This presents two problems:
  1. Who's that mystery guy on the right side of the picture, presumably the figure referred to here?
  2. There doesn't seem to be anything left to endow to anyone. He's already given away his deeds, stocks, lands, and a munitions company.
Typical secrecy from Valve.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Here's my take on L4D2:

It does the stuff that L4D should have done, and the only reason that they're not doing it as an expansion is that you can't do that kind of thing on the 360. I feel like I got screwed for paying 50$ for a game with essentially one game mode: hide in a corner and spam attacks.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

From TVTropes:

"The first movie sequels to have the same name as the first with a number added was French Connection II (1975). Adding "Part II", "Part 3" is much older (e.g. Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part Two or Little Women, Part Second; FC2 was the first to add just a number."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bug Fix

*Fixed being able to eat your sandvich (via taunt) and drop it in the same frame.

Wait a second, you can't have your sandvich and eat it too?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Invention of Lying

Ricky Gervais' The Invention of Lying begins as a single-premise comedy: wouldn't it be funny if everyone was brutally honest, all the time? (Answer: sorta) But it becomes The Invention of Religion about halfway through. By boldly asserting that Religion doesn't exist without lies, Gervais isn't being particularly subtle about his thesis.

There is one point that I think bears more examination: when the film's characters are exposed to religion for the first time ever, they take it much differently than someone in our world; they take it deadly serious. The reasoning is obvious; if you have a chance to enjoy eternal happiness in the future, all other parts of life become trivial in comparison. So when the film's characters are told they are allowed two sins (Like baseball, three strikes and you're out) some characters wisely decide to drink themselves into a stupor, since it helps keep you out of trouble sin-wise, and it accelerates their deaths, after which, their "life" will be better.

Why don't we see people "gaming" the system in our world? Why don't people spend their formative years figuring out how to get into heaven, then spending every bit of labour for the remainder of their lives trying to secure that place in heaven?

They Don't Believe.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Health Care Bill

Everyone in Congress agrees that insurance companies shouldn't be able to use pre-existing conditions as a means to cheat people out of insurance. It's in every version of the health care bill. Why doesn't Congress just pass the stuff people all agree on? Why do we have to have one big bill that covers everything at once, that no one understands?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Top Hat, the Best TF2 Hat

EDIT: A lot of time has passed since this post, and a lot of new hats have come out. To see my new favorite hat, check this out.

A while ago, I decided that the Top Hat was the best hat in the game. When trading comes out, I'll trade any of my existing hats for one. There's a mod that some servers have that allow you to wear hats that you haven't earned, and on any class.

This allowed me to test my theory: Is the Top Hat not just the best hat for one class, is it the best hat for every class? (The answer: Yes)

PS. I lied about the Heavy, the Top Hat actually clips through his forehead and looks kinda stupid.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

An Open Letter To Valve

Dear Valve, please make an idle map.

It may seem unintuitive to make a map that people don't do anything on, but if you've seen idle maps, you'll know that people do things on idle maps. People do lots of things, silly things and serious things. The current idle map of choice, Achievement_Idle, is terrible. There's almost no chance for skill interaction, and people still do interesting things.

There's infinite potential for idling maps, since you don't need to make it fair or balanced. There's no need to create round times, or anything like that either. Make an area for jumping, an area for some soccer, and an area for Heavy Picnics. You've made it so that people are going to idle, you may as well give us a playground.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Silver Lining in Every Cloud

I think most people would say that the weather is pretty miserable today; it's cloudy, it's been drizzling, and the temperature and windchill are beginning to hint at winter.

But this is the perfect time to go to the Zoo. With this temperature, the animals can be active without overheating, and fewer people go outside to bother the animals, so they're more interested in visitors. I had a fantastic time today, there were two grizzly bears really duking it out while simultaneously swimming in their pool, right in front of the glass. I haven't uploaded the pictures yet, but I took a lot, so at least a few should turn out right. I'll have some pictures up soon, I'm sure.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Oliver Sacks and the Human Brain

Unless you've studied psychology or psychobiology, you probably assume that the human brain is a rational operator, and even people that are crazy are basically the same as everyone else. This is an easy assumption to make, as far as most people can tell, they make decisions on a rational basis.

Unfortunately, humans are anything but rational, and deviance in brain function can be more profound than you can imagine.

Many decisions that human beings made are only explained after the fact. To test this, test subjects were given electrical impulses to force motion, or given psychological "triggers" that would provoke some physical response. After doing something inherently irrational, subjects inevitably came up with "reasons" why they did this, even though they hadn't decided to do it in the first place. Imagine how profoundly deceived humans can be when we can convince ourselves, for no reason, that we decided to do something when we were compelled to against our will.

People who suffer severe brain damage can gain a new worldview that seems impossible. Oliver Sacks, a neurobiologist, has written several books on the subject. There is a woman who has suffered brain damage that has deleted her perception of the direction "Left". Somehow, she is only able to perceive the right half of her world, only applying makeup to the right half of her face, and only eating the food on the right half of her plate. To see if there is any food on her plate she missed, she must turn nearly 360 degrees to the right to recenter the plate slightly to the left.

There are those who have suffered damage to the areas of the brain responsible for sight, and have been rendered completely blind, but still believe that they can see. Despite constant failures in their imagined "vision", they are adamant. On the other side of the coin, there are those who have suffered damage to the same general area, and lose the entire concept of sight. They cannot imagine the appearance of pictures, places, or people. The entire visual world is simply gone, as thoroughly as if they had never seen at all.

Anyway, Sack's books are interesting, so check them out if you like odd psychological problems. It's odd to see the common lack of interconnectedness in hospitals in his books. He'll find a case, assume it's unique because he's never seen it before, and write a paper, only to find out that there are dozens of cases that hadn't received much attention previously. I suppose in the world of the Internet, this information is more widespread, but if not, these things need to be on the Web. We should be treating people like this with as much information as possible.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Idling Update

I've continued to idle with more fervour since the latest update. I now have 97 items, 4 of which are hats. You can actually see people's backpacks now, mine is here. I can't imagine why you would want to see it, but it's there regardless.

The real question is what item crafting will look like. Since they gave us backpacks with 100 slots, I imagine that it will take a lot of items to craft a hat. After all, if you have a full backpack, you're probably going to have at least 5 of some item. Personally, I have about 30 Dead Ringers, and 10 KGBs. (It's funny, I like the Dead Ringer, but the instant a GRU [A delightful pun] becomes available, I'm never going to equip a KGB again.) So, if you need 10 duplicate items, it will take a little bit of focussed idling to craft a hat for most. If you need 50, less than 1% of players will be able to immediately craft a hat. If the crafting coincides with a trading system, that would make it easier; players could congregate and create piles of 50 by tactical trading. I can't imagine they'd require more than 50 items. Regardless, this still means that there's no trade you could reasonably make between hat and non-hat items. There's no reason to trade 70 items for a hat if you could just craft one with 50, and the other player wouldn't want them if they weren't easy to craft with.

My only real fear is El_dawg's prediction: that you'll only be able to make Spy hats out of Spy items, and so forth. That would be doubly disastrous: firstly, most of my items are spy, and I don't particularly want another spy hat. Secondly, this would mean that no one could craft Demo, Soldier, and Engie hats. (Really, I'm just talking about Demo hats, which are the best hats in the game. I saw a couple people riding Top Hats yesterday, they look so good.) I have the Stainless Helm, but I'd prefer a Tyrant's Helm.

PS. Best Heavy Run in my life: 44 points. I stuck with the cart the entire way across Badwater, except for a brief excursion to the roof above the second Capture Point.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sandvich Update

This latest update is a huge boost to the Sandvich. Although I can't tell exactly how much it heals now, it's way more than 300 HP. I think the real question is whether some classes are even capable of killing him while he's eating.

The ability to drop the sandvich will be a new reason to call people a noob. The same day as the update, I was dying of fire as a medic, and a Heavy casually let me die, even though he had one. After a while, people will figure this stuff out.

In some ways, all this makes Heavy the second best healing class, pulling in front of engie. This is in terms of healing points, not in keeping the team alive.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

An Open Letter To Guitar Hero

Dear Guitar Hero,

You Lost.

Rock Band is better than you. They produce a better product, and they don't release a new version every 15 minutes. They got the Lego license. They got "Tribute", they got the Portal Song.

They got The Beatles. THE BEATLES.

Just go and try something else, because you got beat.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


I'm downloading Dungeons and Dragons Online as I write thins. Normally, Wizards is so bad with computer based stuff, it's not a safe bet to risk your money with it. Thankfully, DDO is priced right, at zero dollars.

One thing that hasn't sold me on the product is their shameful Succubus-based advertising campaign:

I sincerely doubt there will be a 1:1 ratio between Succubi and Dragons. Even the installer has a Succubus on it. I don't see why they're so desperate to sell me on the objectification of women at this point, I'm already downloading the thing. Are they concerned that I will realize I could just go download some pornography instead of waiting for the installation process?

Monday, September 07, 2009

TF2 Personal Log

Ever since the Classless Update, I've been pro-idling pretty thoroughly. At the moment, I have 262.5 hours of play time in the past 2 weeks, and two weeks only have 336 hours. I've earned only the Master's Yellow Belt since the Update.

Since I have no achievements to grind, I've decided to reset my stats again. You can (just barely) see my pre-reset stats here.

On the Halo, I think it's pretty good. A server set out its anti-Halo agenda with comments like, "I will not heal a Halo, I will not unsap a Halo's buildings, I will shoot a Halo first, [etc.]" The comment ended by saying that they were pretty annoyed that they lost the stuff they had "earned" while using the application that meant they could never have a Halo. I think that last bit is a big part of the key to people's animosity. People are angry that they lost their stuff, and the Halo is a reminder of that.

(Come to think of it, I wonder if there's any association with Halo the video game series.)

I think as hats become more common-place, people will be less concerned with this sort of thing.

As I type this, I'm giving my "old" stats one last hurrah: I've set up a Heavy in an idle server where the floor hurts you, and he's automatically eating a Sandvich. My plan is to literally have the Heavy eat that Sandvich all day, which should result in tens of thousands of points of healing, which will also be my high-scoring Heavy run.

There he goes!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Roomba Fun

We got a Roomba. First: it is good at cleaning, and is less noisy than a vacuum cleaner. Those are really the things that matter in such a product. It gets underneath furniture, and cleans places that we normally don't clean. Places like the Living Room, Kitchen, Family Room, Bathroom, Office, and the Bedrooms.

Supposedly, the Roomba doesn't generate a "mental map" of its area, it just uses a procedural system to clean at "semi-random". I call shenanigans. The Roomba does make a map, and it uses it to frustrate your attempts to get it to do what you want.

When we first set it up, it was next to the entryway, so it wasn't surprising that it ended up hanging out there, and seeming sort of "stuck" in the entryway. We moved it to the other side of the house, and it quickly recognized that fact. It scouted around for a minute, then quickly returned to the entryway.

Another time, I pressed the button that told it to return to its Dock, where it recharges. It promptly went to the place in the house farthest from the Dock, and only grudgingly left that room, only occasionally briefly issuing out to trick me into thinking it was going back to the Dock. To be fair, it did make it eventually.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Inglorious Bastards

I saw Inglorious Bastards. It's good. Brad Pitt is always good, and Samuel Jackson and Harvey Keitel are included, for no particular reason.


I remembered, with not prompting whatsoever, to do a Ron Perlman score.

.95/5 Ron Perlmen

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Everyone should have to see this

Racist ideas don't need to be beaten into people, these kids turn into viciously prejudiced people in a matter of hours. We must remain vigilant against all forms of injustice, it's far too easy to fall into bad modes of thought.

Friday, August 21, 2009

This Healthcare Thing

Obama's strategy for healthcare reform is inherently flawed: he wants to win people over to his position and build a consensus position that even Republicans will vote for. The Republicans, on the other hand, would vote against any bill that wasn't a complete admission of defeat. They're not interested in the administrative end of the bill; they want to break the back of the Democratic party.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Trouble With Tri-Conspiracy Theories

There are several problems with arguing. The main one is: it never works. People just look for confirmation of their own theory.

Some specific problems: People remember evidence that agrees with their theory, and forget where that information comes from. Particularly, when conspiracy theories are attacked, any evidence is discarded as being part of the conspiracy. In a similar way, evidence against creationism is denied by divine miracles, often to the point of absurdity.

Another problem is the variety of theories. If I try to defeat a particular theory, let's say Astrology, I could point out a bunch of problems. But most Astrologists don't agree, and they would probably agree with much of my criticism, saying that those other Astrologists are "doing it wrong".

Anyway, occasionally people do change their mind in science, but even that is rare. Most scientific (and social) progress is made not when the older generation has a change of heart, but when they grow old and die.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Glenn Beck Likes Pies

Have you seen Glenn Beck lately? Clearly putting on some weight. Maybe he'll take himself out of the picture...

We're probably not so lucky.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Bookworm Outrage!

I've been playing Bookworm Adventures, and guess what it doesn't accept as a word!

They should know it's a perfectly Cromulent word.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Voyager Beginnings

I've decided to watch Star Trek: Voyager. This may be a bad call, but so be it. Just saw the first episode. I saw this scene

And joked, "The aliens live in an airport?" Then I saw this:

An escalator? Come on!

Anyway, I've had to play the "pretend game" where you imagine what the show should have done, then you imagine they did that. I had to do the same thing for the Star Wars cartoon. My version of Voyager is quite good.


This is what I come back to after I'm away from the internet for forty eight hours. I think I may subscribe to too many feeds.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

TF2 Blog Updates, I Guess

TF2 has been running a semi-public beta with the plan of making a patch that will make competitive play better. This is cool. I've heard that they're allowing heavies to run faster when holding their hands out, but that may be an urban legend.

Naturally, the TF2 Blog is completely silent on this matter, instead telling us three bits of information that are niche at best. (A segment that will interest noob machinima makers, a segment that interests map makers, and a link to advice for getting into the pro side of TF2.) I wonder who is in charge of their PR. Like I said earlier, I would be glad to take the job.

Friday, July 31, 2009

I Was Wrong, Futurama Is Saved

Earlier I said that Futurama's original cast was not being rehired. Since then, Fox has broken down, and hired them. The world is safe for sci-fi comedy again!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I've Done Some Things I'm Not Proud Of

Yes, this is a check from Maxim, and it is totally real.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Glass Isn't A Liquid

There's a common misconception (I just saw it in a book by Bill Bryson, for crying out loud) that glass is a fluid, or a liquid. People claim that old windows will be thicker on the bottom, because the glass has flowed downward. They do not seem to realize that if glass hundreds of years old flows down, then glass over a thousand years old would have large gaps in it. This is not the case.

In fact, old glass has a thicker end because of the way glass was made in the past; glass wasn't quite flat, so there had to be a thicker end, and sometimes, that end was on the bottom.

So, please, stop repeating this one, people.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Recasting Futurama

You may have heard that Futurama is being renewed. This is good.

You may have heard that Futurama is losing its cast. This is disastrous.

The people who play any character you'd care to name aren't going to be doing their old parts in the new version, so say goodbye to Bender, Fry and Leela, and say hello to "New" Bender, Fry and Leela. Not to mention Calculon, Zoidberg, the Professor, and Hermes, and a universe of incidental characters.

So, Futurama may come back, but Bender never will.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I finally released episode 7 of the podcast. What a mess. problems at almost every level. I'm just glad it's done. We're going to take it easy on the next one.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Metal Gear Solid 4

I beat MGS4, finally. It makes more sense than I would have expected, and actually clarifies some of the things we thought were shenanigans from the previous games. Of course, the art and gameplay are superb. Johnny Sasaki's role is almost unbelieveable

Friday, July 17, 2009

Google Voice

I just set up with Google Voice, and it is awesome. It does two major things:
  1. Gives you a single phone number that people can call, which makes all of your phones ring
  2. Takes messages, then converts them to text. This is the cool part.
I've already given my number to a company that I didn't want to talk to, they called me, and I can read their message like it was an email. We are living in the future.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Me On WeGame

You may know I like Team Fortress 2. Well, if you want to see small videos of me playing it, you can check it out at WeGame, where I've posted a few videos.

Here's my page

Monday, July 06, 2009

I Got A Hat!

You may know that I hate other people for having hats in TF2, especially those who have good hats. Well, I'm not so mad anymore, since I have the second best hat in the game!

It's me! With a hat!

PS. The Demo hat is the best.
PPS. If I get the Heavy hat, I'm going to make a video of me deleting it.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Public Enemies

I saw Public Enemies, it was all right.

TF2 Updates #2 Medic Update

The second best update of TF2 is the first one, The Medic Update. At the time, they just called it The Goldrush Update, but I think the medic part of it is more significant.

The new items for the medic, especially the Blutsauger and Ubersaw, really transform the class. The Blutsauger gives the medic a great escape method, allowing him to run backwards, firing wildly at his pursuers, hopefully draining enough health from his opponents to save himself. The Ubersaw, while used rarely, can be fantastic when it comes up. When a Spy crops up, medics instantly pull out their saws and turn into vicious hunting wolves.

Personally, I like to even sneak up on people in a melee and give them a couple taps, but that strategy isn't very consistent. Heavies don't like to turn their heads, but if they do, they melt you really quickly.

I'm also giving extra credit to the Medic Update for being the first of the major updates, thereby setting the template that would largely be followed by the later ones. (Thankfully, they didn't follow through with the impossible achievements, and having to get all of the achievements to get the items.)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Republicans On Iran

Republicans want to go to war with Iran. Like the war with Iraq, there's no good reason for it, other than the nation generally opposes us, and it would be nice if it was on our side. I've heard Reps ask, "If this revolution turns ugly, would Obama invade?" and comments along those lines. This kind of Non-Sequitor reasoning apparently makes sense to some people.

People like to describe the election as a fraud, (which it is), and a subversion of democracy (which it isn't) against a reformer (which it isn't). Iran isn't a Democracy. Imagine if prominent religious figures got to decide who was allowed to run for president, instead of only who became the Republican nominee. That isn't Democracy, and that's how Iran works. We'll never see an Iranian presidential candidate that's a true reformer, since the priesthood handpicks the candidates.

And since when do Republicans want to oppose sham democracies? I don't know if they noticed, but we support all sorts of Oligarchies (China), Aristocracies (Russia), and even Monarchies (The United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia).

To be perfectly honest, I don't understand the Republican's fascination with Iran, it's completely opaque to me.

Friday, June 26, 2009

An Open Letter To Republicans

Dear Republicans,

PLEASE nominate Sarah Palin for your presidential candidate.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bardcast Ep 5 is done recording

We finished Ep 5 Recording, I should have it up sometime tomorrow. Editing things sucks. From now on, no mistakes!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

TF2 Updates

Yesterday night, they introduced a pretty big TF2 update. Since it improved my favorite watch, the Dead Ringer, it inspired me to do a list of the best updates that TF2 has done, in order. It will naturally start with the class updates, the updates following will be more interesting. I think that engie update will be number 6. Probably scout will be the last of the class updates, since it's lame.

#1: The Sniper/Spy update.

Of course the first update is the biggest one. It has a new gametype, two classes being updated with awesome items, (except the Cloak and Dagger and the Razorback) and the new item system. You may not like the system, but there are hats too, so I think that's a trade off I'm willing to make.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

In Defence Of Assassin's Creed

I'm not the biggest fan of Assassin's creed in the world, and I'm the last person who will say it's perfect. It is, however, a fun game, and one that did things that other games didn't, and nowadays, it's probably on sale, so its short length is mitigated by the reduced cost, so if you haven't played it yet, I'd advise picking it up.

I'm mainly writing this to defend a particular part of the game: the repetitive missions that everyone complains about. I think people are complaining about them because they're not looking at them with the right mindset. First of all, if you don't like sitting on a bench and listening to people, I think the game only makes you do it once. Ever. Think of it as a brief cutscene if you absolutely can't stand it. Second, it all works if you think of it in the context of planning an assassination. You're not doing the side missions because you love to listen to people on benches; you're there because information is critical to an assassin. It's true the game doesn't sell it very well, but it's all awesome if you think of each chapter as laboring to produce the perfect assassination. If you do all the little labours, you can find out where the target will be, what his deal is, and the safest route. Getting the perfect run is tricky, but it's very rewarding.

Now, other complaints are completely legitimate: the game is far too short, with only 9 assassinations, and the first one is comically easy (still cool though, made me feel like a bad-ass to invisibly assassinate the guy, then walk away with no suspicion on me, on the first try). The cutscenes are very poorly thought out, especially having to watch the deathbed confessions of each of the targets. I've said it before and I'll say it again, cutscenes that are absolutely unskippable, even on a second run through, are a crime against humanity. Nothing kills replay value faster.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Episode 4: Authorship "Question"

We've finished recording episode 4, I'll probably have it up by sometime tomorrow.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Don't Try To Make WoW

People who look at WoW, and say, "Hey, this fantasy MMORPG is doing well, maybe we should make one!" are idiots. It's like looking around 1940 Italy, and saying, "This dictatorship in Italy is doing well, maybe we'll start a new one!"

The currently successful party will bury you.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Just Went To "The Tempest"

It's been a while since I've posted, but I assure you, nothing interesting has happened before today.

I just went to a performance of The Tempest, and it was pretty good. I guess once we're done with the the Authorship "Question" episode, we'll do The Tempest instead of the episode that people have voted for. Take that, Democracy!

Monday, June 08, 2009

BardCast: Movin' On Up!

Check this out:

That's right, BardCast is on the front page of the iTunes search for "Shakespeare"! Number 16 already. I expect that once we get our name out, we'll be in the top three in no time. Maybe even number one, since all the other podcasts on that list are either lame or defunct.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Gardening Success!

Earlier I mentioned that we started a garden here. I am glad to report that we have a thriving crop of plants coming up. I may take some photos later to show exactly how awesome it is.

Yesterday was the first time it's rained in a week, but it's the perfect rain for growing plants, a steady, light, rain that lasts all day. I've been watering them several times a day when it doesn't rain at all, which has been every other day.

The plants we're growing are: Tomatoes, Sweet Peas, Green Beans, Carrots, and Lettuce. I've been trimming the peas and beans and replanting the plants that I pull out. I'm running out of places to put them. I may have to put plants in cups or something. Fun times.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

L4D 2 Outrage!

I'm only half-kidding with the title of this post. L4D is a product which the producers sold to us as being something they were going to work on like TF2. We were expecting continuous development, and now we see there is a sequel in less than a year. (364 days exactly, which seems like a taunt to me).

This game is what we were expecting from the first game. They've fixed the problem with camping in corners, and left the original game as flawed as ever.

I didn't invent these expectations of updates. There's an interview where somebody who works on the game promises new characters, new weapons, and new game modes. We got a new game mode, flawed as it is, but I doubt we're going to get anything else we were promised.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

BardCast Ep 3 Is Done!

We've finished recording and editing BardCast episode 3, and I'll have it up either later today, or, at latest, early tomorrow.

I think this one is the real test of the podcast. Since half of our episodes will be about individual plays, if this isn't entertaining, we'll need to really retool the podcast.

As always, please take a listen.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Four Shots, Four Dominations

I just thought I'd brag about an awesome TF2 thing I did. I was running sniper, and I dominated 4 people in 4 shots. Later in that life, I dominated another person. This is absurdly improbable, even if you're really good. To dominate someone, you need to kill them three times without being killed in return. This means I had killed each of those persons twice in a row, and they all happened to approach me in rapid succession. This is so improbable I'd wager that it may have never happened before.

I noticed that I was on a roll on my 3 shot, and when I got my 4th domination, I felt like I had some sort of magic power. My 5th shot was a complete whiff fired at random. I guess four is good enough for me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sniper/Spy Update Thoughts (With Graphs!)

When I saw that Sniper was going to get updated, I wasn't particularly excited. The Huntsman and the Razorback didn't interest me either. I was much more interested once the Spy was revealed to be part of the dual update. Yet I find myself playing more sniper than spy, and it's largely because of the Huntsman. It really transforms the way I play Sniper. Instead of being separated from the game, I feel more integrated into the team and the action. Of course, the Jarate is totally awesome as well.

You may remember the time Valve showed off this graph:

The important part here is that stickies, like most weapons, do less damage over a distance. You may not know that critical hits do the same damage regardless of distance. A critical rocket always does 270 damage.

Now, Jarate does "mini crits". They only boost attacks by 35% instead of 200%. However, they also eliminate the loss of damage over distance. Let's look at the same graph, with Jarate damage included. (By me)

At close range, Jarate only increases damage by 35%, but you can tell that, at a distance, Jarate increases damage by 400%. This is pretty cool, particularly for soldiers and demomen.

The only spy item that really interests me is the Dead Ringer, which is a strange mix of awesome and inconvienient. The attack that causes the feign death has a massive damage reduction. So much so that you can survive any known attack, including the train and a backstab. Since there's a significant amount of time between uses, I think it's mainly useful for escaping once you've attacked;you'll have to use your skills to get into position now.

My prediction for the remaining updates: Soldier is next (Hallelujah) and then a dual Demoman/Engineer update.

Now playing: The Isley Brothers - It's Your Thing
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I'm going out and planting some seeds today. There's something inherently self-justifying about real gardening, where you go out and do something with your hands and your tools. Even more so when you are planting food that you can later give to people. I don't know a better way of getting truly fresh food. Grocery products shipped from another continent simply cannot compare.

By the way, the second episode of the BardCast should be up by the time you read this, visit the site Here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

What is This Garglemesh? Spy/Sniper Edition

The new map, Pipeline, is really cool. And the achievements are really good too. I got many of the ones that you get for being super-cool.

There's an achievement for killing someone with the Spy's knife-taunt. You can kill someone with the knife taunt while you are invisible. This also destroys buildings. I was running engie, and I got killed along with a dispenser and a sentry without ever being able to see my enemy.

The alternate weapons are cool, or so I've been told. See, Steam doesn't want me to use the new items, so they've devised a system of giving other people random items at random intervals, and never giving me any items under any circumstances. I've played for over 4 hours since the update, and I haven't even received an item I don't need!

Let me clarify: As far as anyone can tell, the only way to get the new items is to simply play TF2, and the system rolls dice to see whether you get anything. Not only do they give you extremely few items, demonstrated by my complete lack, but they also give you a random item including the items you already have. Let's say that I get an item at random every four hours. Since there are twice as many old items than new items, I only have a 1/3 chance of getting something I might want. So every 4 hours, I have a small chance of getting an item I may want.

I'm OK with separating Achievements and Equipment, although I think there's an argument to be made for it, but completely separating the player from his ability to gain new equipment is a mistake, I think.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sniper/Spy Update

The biggest update in TF2's history is out, and it's a free TF2 weekend too! It's a TF2-stravaganza! I'm waiting to download while I blog this.

El Dawg, over at the El Blawg, won the achievement guessing contest, winning by a grand total of .5 points. It was well fought, and we both got some good guesses in there, but I was proved to be the lesser TF2 Achievement-Guesser. (The score was extremely close for all three participants. Going through the score again could yield any player as the winner)

I'm really wondering about this new equipment system. The details about it in the update notes are vague at best.

The Kritzkrieg has a new taunt that will heal the medic a little. It is now my only medigun from now on.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sniper Achievement Guessing

First of all, feel free to ignore my previous post. Secondly, it's time to guess Sniper Achievements! (Thirdly, Jarate looks super-awesome, and the comic is sweet!)

Australian Rules:

Dominate 10 People

Be Efficient:

Get three consecutive fully charged headshots, no misses.

Be Polite:

Give someone a deathcam pic of you doing the melee taunt after you melee them.

Beaux and Arrows:

Kill a medic and his healing target with the Huntsman

Consolation Prize:

Get 50 assists on spies who killed you.

Dead Reckoning:

Kill someone with the Huntsman Headshot from 100 feet


Snipe Three Sentries to death.

Dropped Dead:

Shoot someone with the Huntsman, then they die of fall damage.

Enemy at the Gate:

Snipe someone to death within 5 seconds of spawning

Friendship is Golden:

Get 100 Jarate assists

Have a Plan:

Capture the Final Point of a map.

Jarate Chop:

Melee someone to death while they're under the effect of Jarate

Jarring Transition:

Uncloak a spy with Jarate

Jumper Stumper:

Snipe someone to death while they are in midair

Kill Everyone You Meet:

Get 1000 Headshot kills

Kook the Spook:

melee 10 spies to death

My Brilliant Career:

Go an entire round as sniper and get top rank in a team of 6 or more

Not a Crazed Gunman, Dad:

Kill 25 people capturing a point

Number One Assistant:

Get 5 Jarate assists in a single life.

Parting Shot:

Snipe a friend, causing them to leave the server (or Team).


Get Three arrows into one guy.

Rain on Their Parade:

Get a flawless victory on that stupid raining map.

Robbin’ Hood:

Kill 10 people carrying Intelligence with the Huntsman

Rode Hard, Put Away Wet:

Use Jarate to get revenge on someone dominating you

Saturation Bombing:

spray 4 people with Jarate in one throw

Self-destruct Sequence:

Get 10 assists while you've died before the target. (I just have no idea for this one)


Hit with 18 Huntsman shots in one life

Shock Treatment:

Kill a spy while he's effected by the Stupid Shield

Shoot the Breeze:

Kill an invisible spy with the Huntsman

Socket to Him:

Shoot the Demo's bottle with the Sniper Rifle. (Like in Meet the Sniper, that's one of the funnier bits in the "Meet the..." videos)

The Last Wave:

Snipe someone, then give them the taunt for the deathcam

Triple Prey:

Snipe 3 people consecutively, no pausing.

Trust Your Feelings:

It's a Star Wars reference... and you have to snipe people... Snipe 5 Invisible spies???


Snipe a medic to death while he has full ubercharge

William Tell Overkill:

Pin someone's head to a wall. 25 times.