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Monday, June 21, 2010

The Sniper Update and Medal of Honor

Hello again. Today's topics, the Huntsman and more Medal of Honor, mark the end of my forays into TF2 for a while. Since I've already covered the Ambassador in the first blog, at the time of writing, the Sniper is the only class left. Therefore, I'll talk more about the beta from here on out, and I'll try to bring you some more news from the industry that may be hard to find or that I find interesting. I'm also going to start playing Final Fantasy XIII with some regularity so that I can get a new genre of game into the loop, namely the Roleplaying Game.

The Huntsman then. I'll admit my feelings on the matter are somewhat contradictory, and I hope you'll forgive me for that. When released, this weapon is perhaps the least patched of all of them. Recently they added the ability for arrows to remain on fire when not drawn, and various small fixes to the hitbox and arrows sticking enemies to walls. Damage wise and accuracy wise Valve did nothing. However, my main complaint about it is this, and it is here that the contradiction comes into play. The headshot hitbox for the Huntsman's arrow is huge, so much so that a sniper can aim within what would amount to a foot in game to either side of the head and still get the headshot.Add to this that one need only aim the arrow, release it and await the headshot, hide and repeat the process basically warrents spam. Find a chokepoint in the maps, for all good maps have at least one, then just shoot wantonly into the crowd on the objective (this applies to payload and CP maps, not necessarily CTF) If your aim is high enough and you (easily) about being shot, you'll either damage an enemy and maybe get an assist, or, more likely, a headshot.

With this in mind, when facing a Huntsman sniper of superficial skill, for that's all it take to be a Huntsman sniper, as an class save a fully buffed heavy and you have a recipe for quick death and very annoying killcam. Things get worse when the arrow comes from across the map without losing any of its damage. The Huntsman damage is over 150 for a quick release headshot and 360 for full charge. That automatically takes out scouts, spies, snipers and medics. More than half charge and you take out soldiers and demomen and pyros. Full charge takes out fully buffed soldiers and drastically injures heavies at any stage of overheal, killing them outright without a medic with them.

All this leads to a very large amount of hate for the weapon and frustration aimed directly at anyone with the lack of skill to use it. I myself hate the huntsman except, of course, when I'm using it. Granted, I don't actually use it when I want to really try. I'll play soldier, spy or demo for that. It's a relaxant not really caring or putting any real effort behind play. It's just enjoyable, and thankfully on the servers I play, people are generally good spirited about the whole thing, but I will hear a little hate if I'm failing and they know I could do better as another class. Three snipers and spies on a team of only 16 is still a little much.

Shifting gears, I want to say something about the Medal of Honor beta that really bugs me: random crashes. I know they happen on all systems though not for all people. I am one of the unfortunates. On the one hand, they do stop me from going long into the mornings, but I can't help but wonder at the times they pick. A great killstreak, one last kill for the next scorechain...crash as I get the kill. This is a beta, I understand and accept that. Indeed, I'm less angry about the crashes because it's still in beta. I know DICE and EA are working to fix it, since it seems to be gamebreaking for some people. I'll wait and see.

More on topic, the weapons in the beta. The startup weapons for each kit are actually each pretty good. The AK for the insurgent basic soldier and the M16 for the coalition; the AK-74u and M4 carbines for the spec-ops who takes out tanks with rocket launchers; the SVD and M21 for the sniper kits. The basic soldier's (called the "rifleman") weapon has very little recoil and can kill across map. Both are fully automatic, unlike the M16 from MW2, which is a three round burst. The 74u and M4 lose damage over distance, as a sub-machine gun should and keep the low recoil. The startup rifles for the sniper kit have a great amount of recoil but kill in fewer bullets at all except max range. Headshots are one hit kills with the rifles, though, which is nice.

Overall, the weapon selection is really nice, each balanced against its counterpart. If the final game makes quite a few changes (big and small), which I'll get into tomorrow, I know that this could very well unseat Modern Warefare 2 or Black Ops from its lofty seat. With both MoH and Black Ops coming out very close to each other, whoever gets the better exposure and the best showing wins. So far, the former goes to MoH. Whatever the Treyarch team is doing with their own beta, they need to get on it now, because the MoH beta is about to take off like a shot. June 17th was the beta for those who already had Bad Company 2. With the influx of new players come tomorrow, word of mouth will only spread faster.

We shall see.

Thanks for reading,

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