About the title, y'know, 'A n00b reviews'... I lied, I'm sorry. It's all a scam.
To tell the truth, I no longer think I really count as a 'n00b', except for in that deep-seated, primordial way in which we are all
n00bs, ruled over by a master race of angelic '1337'. Perhaps it would be best to say that I am no longer a 'newb', which means that when I suck I only have myself to blame.
Why does this matter? Well, six months ago I finally got enough cash together at one time and in one place to get a computer, a decent
computer, one that had more than on-board Intel graphics and a processor that didn't leave unfortunate burn scars on my thighs. It was heavenly.
In any case, this gave me an interesting opportunity. I had never
played a PC game before, and from rumors I gathered that PC gamers were a secretive and murderous sect, yet here I stood, Jane Goodall hat firmly on my head, intent on a mission to penetrate PC gaming's dark heart and observe those majestic online apes, if I could find any.
It's been a lot of fun, though I think I may have gone a bit native...
A bonus for us all is that I started writing this stuff ages ago, so have a backlog of articles. When you read my posts you will, by the magical power of the internet, be looking into the past
. Bet you never thought that time travel could be this easy, huh?.
Anyway, I feel that I'd better hurry the hell up, so, finally, to the real post.
Team Fortress 2
The first time I played Team Fortress 2 (TF2 henceforth) I was confused. Massively, massively confused.
What caused this colossal state of bafflement, you ask? Two things:
1) I had no fucking clue
what was going on, and;
2) No-one had called me a n00b, neither my Mother nor my racial background had been questioned, and my mouth remained happily free of tea-bags.
You see, this was my first foray into the world of on-line gaming, and I was, I'm a little ashamed to admit, terrified of it.
As a life-long console gamer, I had spent all my time sat alone in a darkened room, getting a little too
into JRPGs and survival horror games. Neither of these are exactly social events, but I was happy playing by myself, and for years they were my 'oh-shit-it's-four-in-the-morning' GamerCrack.
During these years, my friends were busy going out and meeting people, or at least staying in meeting digital strangers, who they then shot in the head. And humped. Sometimes they did this as Nazis, sometimes as power-suited soldiers and, occasionally, as theoretical physicists, but no matter who or what they were playing as, every time they crowbarred me down to the pub I always heard the same kind of stories.
- The 11-year old boy screeching his pre-pubescent way through the spawnzone, cussing his team like a violently fisted dock-worker.
- The violently fisted dock-worker sprays/decals.
- The time they accidentally played against a vastly superior clan, who literally
reached through the internet and raped their mothers.
In any case, these sorts of stories, largely backed-up by what I read on forums (such as this one) convinced me to stay the hell away from online games, away from these clearly evil people. No, I was happy enough in my console world of massive hair-do's and zombies.
Fast-forward to last month, and to my acquisition of a 'real' PC, a matt-black beast that could actually play games. Games with graphics! And physics! Amazing! On the advice of... well, everybody
, my first purchase was the Orange Box, and it amazed me by totally and utterly living up to the praise. Within a few days I'd torn my way through all it had to offer, and loved every second of it.
It sat there at the bottom of my Steam page, taunting my cowardice with its '0 hours played' message. In the end I relented. I girded my loins, plucked up my courage (or got bored enough...), and decided to venture on-line, where my head promptly exploded in a shower of confetti and blood, because I had no idea what to do. No idea
Seriously, Valve, would it kill you to make a manual? The one posted on Steam is a joke (Literally. It's actually a humorous manual for the Engineer's sentry gun), and it just seems incredibly broken that I had to look for a guide on GameFaqs just to find out how to start a game. Yes, most PC gamers could easily work it out, but I wasn't a PC gamer, so I had to work largely through cack-handed trial and error. Anyway, once I'd messed around enough to know that I wanted to 'Find Server', I took the plunge and started playing.
For those who don't know, TF2 is a class-based on-line shooter made with the famous Source engine, where players must use teamwork to achieve specific objectives (capture X, hold Y, escort Z) rather than the more usual 'kill lots of people' Deathmatch. Each of the 9 available classes has a specific role, and whilst no particular class is stronger than any other, a well-balanced team will usually dominate an imbalanced one, emphasizing the importance of teamwork. The weight attached to this, in fact, made me even more worried. What if I screwed up horribly and my own team
were nasty to me?
Don't worry, they weren't. In fact, neither was the other team. There were no insults flying over the voice-chat, only a pleasantly-voiced Swedish man asking for 'an oober now pleash'. I had no idea what he meant, of course, and even if it was the perverse sexual act my mind was now imagining, it was a damn sight better than what I was expecting. There was no 'stfu n00b', no cries of 'hax!'. It wasn't what I was expecting at all.
Sure, I died a lot, and for the first week or so I sucked horribly. Again, the lack of any sort of manual or guide lead to me having to find most things out the hard way ("oh, so that's
how to change weapons..."), but over time I got better. The few times I was called a n00b, I freely admitted that I was new to the game and, bizarrely, people were eager tohelp
me. Help! On the internet! Madness! Sure, there were some dicks, but rarely were there enough to ruin the experience and if there were; well, there's plenty more servers in the sea.
My first foray into online gaming was... not what was I was expecting. It was much nicer, but, I suppose, less interesting. Being flamed to hell would have been nasty, but more interesting,,, Don't worry though, next time I'm playing Oblivion
, and get to be mean to it. Much more interesting.
Thanks for reading.
P.s In the six months since I first wrote this, people playing TF2 online seem to be getting ruder. Maybe it's an old enough game that people are taking it more seriously, maybe it's the servers I'm playing on now, maybe it's the general economic downturn making everyone grumpy. Still, it beats the hell out of most other games.