After doing some work tonight, I spent my free time playing my favorite game from 2007, Team Fortress 2. Lately, I’ve been hanging out on the Portal of Evil server which is also the unofficial Quarter To Three server as well. Some decent players keep me on my toes there and the map rotation is pretty great.
Badlands, the recently released Valve update of a Team Fortress Classic map, has quickly become one of my favorites. It’s a map that really rewards smart engineer play, and that’s a class I don’t play too terribly often so it’s really fun to wear that hat. What’s interesting is a lot of folks don’t play the engineer class on Badlands, so being the lone guy with a sentry can really rack up the kills. The map is also a lot more vertical than it seems on first glance. A lot of time is spent shooting up at someone on a bridge or hill and those kinds of shots are still the toughest to land. When playing the soldier, I always prefer to be above my targets so I can splash rockets at their feet again and again launching them in the air and ruining their aim.
Once I get revved up, no one keeps their feet on the ground for very long. That’s a key component of playing the soldier. Rockets are deadly but their best benefit is keeping people from controlling their own motion. Once you launch someone skyward, you can either prep to hit the ground where they’ll land or knock them out of the sky with a well-placed shot. This is one spot I’ve been really happy with the Razer Diamondback 3G mouse that I got for Christmas. It’s super precise and responds instantly to my hand motions. I think it’s really improved my first-person shooter skills in all games, but online is where the difference is most notable. I’ve also really enjoyed using the Razer Tarantula keyboard. The keys have a shorter throw on them than standard keyboards and that makes response just that much quicker. I really ought to figure out all the macro programming for it because I know I’m wasting some of its functionality, but like a lot of that kind of thing I ignore it in favor of just playing more. One of these days I’ll get to it.
If you’re still on the fence about purchasing The Orange Box, don’t be. It solidfies in my mind as the best game of 2007 more and more each day. I keep on coming back to Team Fortress 2, and I played through Portal a couple times. I’ve even been working my way through Half-Life 2 as time allows. Even if Team Fortress 2 was the only thing in there, it’d be worth full price, but with all those extras it’s the deal of the year.