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.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Ambassador

They've revealed the Spy's alternate Revolver, and it's pretty sweet. The gun/diplomacy thing reminds me of MSPaint Adventures' Problem Sleuth.

I think This update is solely a Spy update, not a dual update, for the following reasons:

  1. When the Spy update bit was released, they taped "SPY" over the phrase "The Sniper Update", as thought the Sniper was being replaced by the Spy.
  2. The lameness of the Sniper equipment.
  3. If the update is coming out Thursday, they only have two days to release the remaining update information. It would be easy to release information about hats and the new system of getting items one day, and the alternate Spy Knife the other; adding in the Sniper's alternate melee weapon and Achievements would make for two very crowded days. (Not that I'd complain)
  4. If you look at the TF2 Blog, the link is to the Spy Update, not to any Dual update.
That's all. We'll see. The trick is to make so many predictions that some of them turn out to be right, and you celebrate those. (I say that jokingly, but there are real world "psychics" who do exactly that.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Spy Achievements Contest

Valve has revealed the Spy Achievements, and that means it's time to guess the meaning of the achievement icons/names. This time my competitor, El_dawg, will be posting his guesses on his blog, the El Blawg.

A Cut Above:

Stab a Spy who is using a Revolver.

Agent Provocateur:

Backstab ten different people on your friends list

Burn Notice:

Kill someone within 30 seconds of them setting you on fire

Come in From the Cold:

Backstab a nemesis. (Maybe you had to be dominated whilst not a spy, then switch to spy for vengeance?)

Constructus Interruptus:

Backstab an Engie whilst he is still building a device.

Counter Espionage:

Backstab an enemy disguised spy.

Deep Undercover:

I have a feeling this has something to do with an alternate knife, since that doesn't look much like the regular knife. Could this be the item that lets you steal the identity of the person you killed?

Die Another Way:

Kill a Sniper with a Razorback without firing it off.


Revolver 50 peeps

Dr. Nooooo:

Backstab a medic with full ubercharge. (I wonder if this will count for Kritzing medics, since they can still be stabbed?)

For Your Eyes Only:

Do The Disguise Kit Taunt in a Sniper's Death Cam photo.

FYI I am a Spy:

Get some kills without going into disguise?

High Value Target:

Dominate Three or more people in a single round.

Identity Theft:

Kill someone, then change to their class w/ Disguise Kit. (Or kill someone while you're disguised as them)

Insurance Fraud:

Stab someone while you're being healed by an enemy medic.

Is It Safe?:

Capture 50 points. This seems rather boring...

Joint Operation:

You and another spy deploy a sap within three seconds of each other.

May I Cut In?:

Backstab someone and their medic within thirty seconds.

On Her Majesty's Secret Surface:

Be the first person on your team to get to a capture point

Point Breaker:

Defend 15 points

Sap Auteur:

Deploy 1000 saps.


This looks like this alternate knife again, my guess is sap an engineering building, then backstab the engie that owns it.


Revolver 10 snipers to death

Slash and Burn:

Very abstract picture... backstab someone while they're on fire?

Sleeper Agent:

Looks like alternate Knife again, maybe it does ongoing damage, and this is the achievement for killing someone after you die, like Dead Heat.

Spies Like Us:

Backstab an invisible enemy Spy. (I've done this before. Alternately, grinding going invisible. There's a test of skill.)


Get 1000 backstabs with the new knife.

The Man from P.U.N.C.T.U.R.E.:

Grinding Backstabs, maybe 5000?

The Man with the Broken Guns:

Backstab an engie, then sap three of his buildings.

The Melbourne Supremacy:

Dominate a sniper with Backstabs. (Or, get revenge on a sniper dominating you)


Stab someone three times? (Three Spies facestab the same guy?)


Killing someone outside in the rain in that arena map? The name says underwater, but the picture says rain.

Who’s Your Daddy?:

Backstab a scout with his bat.

You Only Shiv Thrice:

Backstab three people in ten seconds.