Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Mass Destruction of PlushSnuffie

Wow its been nearly 6 weeks since I played any kind of substantial BF2. AnotherEd mentioned an 8pm get-together, and when I showed up there was AnotherEd, MrGoofWrench, CrazyFirefighter and Elevenb19910 (aka Major A Hole, dude you seriously need a new BF2 name).

They were already into the action on Mass Destruction, and I spent most of the time on the map either getting killed as I spawned or else running after vehicles that would not stop for me (yet again). I got bored, spawned way back and tried to put C4 on a vehicle for a suicide run against a tank or APC, but a teammate stole the vehicle and ran me over. For a while there I was medic, and got a few revival points, but we lost the factory and that ended my mass revival run (wooo 6). The enemy was attacking our rear base, and I was getting killed within seconds of spawning for around 10 minutes, so I went sniper, and made my way around the mountains along the East side and took out a number of attackers before the map ended. I ran out of ammo a few times because our crappy commander did not appear to heed resupply calls. It was a relatively boring map, I found it hard to keep up with my squad, although Kudos to our squad leader for at least keeping an "attack here" line on my map for me. I don't know the names of flag areas so stopping to look at my big map is usually lethal.

A few dropped and 3 of us ended up on Ghost Town, but the enemy was too strong and we were being attacked pretty much anywhere we spawned. Okay, *I* was attacked anywhere I spawned. The typical PlushSnuffie luck followed me as I fell off the bridge, fell off a building, got ran over by a teammate, accidentally fired my AT at my feet, and lastly I tried to ambush a hiding enemy but ran out of ammo from 5 feet away and he killed me with one shot.

I'm not a big fan of SF maps, they're a little too "dark" if you know what I mean. At least with maps like Dalian Plant or Dragon Valley there's plenty of bright nature to die in. Tonite was not a great return to the game, but I should have a bit more time to continue playing in the next week.

Lesson to learn: Memorize the layout of SF maps.

Lesson confirmed: When I'm driving a tank, I'm a 1-shot kill for the enemy, and when I'm carrying an AT, there are 3 guys repairing just out of my view.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Command & Conquer

Since I rarely ever win any games (my overall win/loss ratio is a dismal 0.72), I was pleased as punch to try my hand at commanding. Just to get it over with, here's our team's final score:

I discovered that there's a lot to learn as Commander. First off, a big thank you to my teammates, whoever you are, for not voting me off, or for a higher-ranking player not taking over the Commander position.

We were MEC on Sharqi, and I started out as Special Ops, and since the Commander position wasn't filled, I took the position. Our team had 7 players including myself, 3 squad leaders and 3 troops. The enemy had 7 players, 6 troops and 1 commander.

The interesting thing about this game was that all three of our squad leaders found a spot on the map to hide, and never got involved in the fighting. Since I was too n00b to command and fight, I stayed back and commanded, leaving only 3 out of our 7 to actually do any combat. 6 of their players were fighting, meaning we were outnumbered in combat 2:1, yet we still won. At one point they took out our artillery so I switched to engineer and repaired them (which was new to me). Eventually, just before that screenshot was taken, our 3 guys had stormed the TV station ("attack here!") and MEC won the day.

Just had to document my first victory as commander.

Lesson to learn: what all those buttons do in the Commander screen.

Lesson confirmed: Teamwork can get you a victory even if you are outnumbered 2:1!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

There Are No Holidays in BF2

So I'm back from my holidays and the only thing I really missed while I was gone was the sound of the attack helos. Unfortunately there weren't any to be found in the Rockies, nor did my repeated requests for a supply drop succeed. I was taken by surprise at 2am by a freak thunderstorm while in my tent, it was so intense it could have been mistaken for an artillery barrage.

So last night was "The Bi-Monthly Teach MrGoofWrench How to Play" event, and although I expected up to a dozen of my fellow RA'ers, only AnotherEd, The_Huntress, GW and myself showed. We bounced around first in Warlord, but soon left for some ripe pickings at Karkand and Daqing. Huntress was doing well as commander, that's something I need to work on myself, as I find the controls a bit odd. If only the commander screen was as user-friendly as google maps.

As AnotherEd's rank is Captain and he has about 700 hours more playtime than me, I always think its a good idea to follow him around and learn from him. Unfortunately for me its like playing tag, he is always rushing off to defend different capture points. He'll say "over to the refinery!" on comms, and by the time I've checked my map to see where the refinery is he'll be 2 miles away defending some lonely gas station.

At one point we went to defend the middle oil storage tanks, and I hopped out and ran up the stairs looking for the flag. Immediately I saw it below me but by that time Ed was already in a jeep heading out. WTF Ed slow down pal! So another time I asked for a ride and stepped out of a door only to find myself under the treads of his tank. Earlier on Karkand I was 4 steps behind him as he hopped in a truck and took off, completely ignoring my wails of protest. I ran about a mile to where the action was only to be headshotted from a bunnyhopping Support troop from 500 yards away.

If I'm not spawning in the middle of a artillery barrage, I'm spawning as all the vehicles have left for the front. Sometimes I feel like the kid who always misses the schoolbus.

Lesson to learn: How to keep up with AnotherEd

Lesson confirmed: The hitbox of my player's head is 10x the size of everyone else's

Friday, August 11, 2006

Recent Screenshots

For posterity's sake, I thought I'd post a few recent screenshots. You can click on them to see a larger image. The first one is a prime example of my shitty luck while playing:

The next two pics are me just practicing flying; I landed a helo on a crane:

Just to see if I could do it, land on the carrier:

Oh oh looks like somebody's hacking!!! (wasn't me, I just happened to be in the right place at the end of the round):

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Mouse? Trackball? No, I Just Suck.

So last nite I dumped my trackball in favour of a new mouse. The jury is still out on the tracking problem though... it seemed reasonably okay but I swear that in a tank the turret still lags. Hasn't helped one bit though, although I learned rather quickly that I can't take my hand off the mouse while jetting around like I used to do with the trackball - the cord tends to quickly pull the mouse off to one side causing some rather swift crashes. :
On another note, for the last 2 days I've noticed that I can't seem to lead attack helo missiles anymore. WTF? No matter what I do, hold down the mouse button (I tried both), not hold down the mouse button, curse, kick puppies, the damn missile no longer responds and just flies straight. WTF??

Bad Luck Spawning

Sometimes I have no clue what class I should be playing, or where I should be spawning. Every round I desperately seek a squad but they lock them up so I can't join. I'm not interested in starting a squad, I prefer at this stage to just be part of a team, but I guess no one wants a willing body.

So today I managed a few rounds on Kubra Dam and Clean Sweep. Things went well on Kubra Dam, but when Operation Clean Sweep came up my luck changed drastically. Each time I spawned, it was a disaster. I think I managed 0 kills and 30 deaths for the entire round. I'd spawn just as 2 tanks and a jeep full of enemies roll in. Dead. I spawned just as a jet made a bombing run. Splat. I spawned just as an enemy helo launched a rocket volley. Dead. I picked a far away spawn just as an arty barrage hit. Dead. Switch back, swarming with enemy infantry, dead. Pick another spawn, tank shell. Dead. Pick it again, artillery barrage, dead. WTF?

I played Daqing Oilfields I think it was, and I thought I'd step up my repair points which are at zero. So on the advice of a BF2 FAQ and some friends, I got a jeep and tagged along with a tank, and sure enough throughout the round, I'd hear the click-click of the wrench as I repaired the tanks and AA vehicles. I've done this before, and my stats still show zero repairs... WTF? What on earth do I have to do for my repairs to actually count?

Lesson to learn: Get a better wrench.

Lesson confirmed: I can't pick a decent spawn point to save my life.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

It's All About Control

Friday I decided to hop on .id|Battlefield, our non-ranked practice server and tweak some of my controls. I slowed my vehicle and player sensitivity a bit to increase my control which seemed to work okay. Of course it didn't take long for my pals CrazyFirefighter and F0E_H4MMER to show up and goof around with me. I believe it started when I told CrazyFirefighter I could land a jet on the carrier and he wanted to see it for himself. Like me, he didn't even know if it was possible. Entirely useless in the game, but simply for curiosity's sake. Years ago I had mastered landing the Cessna on the carrier ... SIDEWAYS across the runway instead of down the runway ... in MS Flight Sim. No chance of that in BF2 though. I like a challenge.

Mulching with these guys let me toy with being a Commander, which I'm not used to. All I know is that the concepts are easy enough, but the odd controls within the commander map make it awkward. Must practice more of this.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


So yesterday, after a too long of an absence, I managed to play a bit. Funny how real life gets in the way. Couldn't find any of my favourites with any living beings on them so I randomly picked a server with some folks playing Wake.

Now many of you will understand when I say I hate Wake. Some people complain about balance issues, but I personally don't like the nakedness of it. Mind you if there's no place to hide and no place to run then you are forced to fight, which is probably a good thing for a newb like me.

I was on US side, and like most newbs, I love flying the attack helos. The game had already started when I connected but I thought I'd spawn on the carrier just to see if I could get it. It was out on a mission, so I hitched a ride on the flying bus and got into the action pretty quick.

I tried to join all the squads on my team but they were locked. I seem to always have a hard time joining squads. Why do people lock them so often? Why why why? I think most of my play is solo only because I can't seem to get into squads. Yes I've complained about this before but I can't seem to find a solution.

I used to have problems while flying and driving where I'd accidentally hit C instead of X, and my view would get messed up and I couldn't recover in time, almost always resulting in me watching a front or rear view of my own death. "Just use the function keys" is the helpful response from my mates, however I have one of those "corner" computer desks where both the desk and keyboard drawer are curved, and the drawer doesn't pull out far enough, so all my function keys are obscured by the desk surface. In fact some of my numeric keys are obscured as well, but the F keys are the worst. If I want to press a function key I have to stop what I'm doing, grab my keyboard and lift it out of the keyboard drawer, press the F key then replace it. This isn't a good setup for BF2 to say the least. I tried to remount the keyboard drawer more forward but its as far as it can go. I might look for mounting hardware that pulls out further but until that happens I'm S.O.L.

So anyhow, what I ended up doing was remapping my C key to somewhere on the numeric keypad, out of reach of an accidental tap. Of course yesterday I'd forgotten that I had done this, so for the entire round I was desperately tap-tap-tapping C trying to change my cockpit view whenever I got into a helo. Dumbass.

Playing solo, I was playing somewhat opportunistically. If an attack helo was available, I took it and managed a cap or two and took out some enemy vehicles as well as denied them their J10 jet as it sat on the runway. If nothing was available I'd hike it out to undefended flags and take them or wait for backup when things got hairy. I stole a few tanks along the way too, which brings up point about this weird bug I've been having since day 1.

I use a Logitech Trackman trackball for gaming, I prefer it over a mouse. That being said, I have a very weird control issue. Taking a tank turret as an example, if I turn the turret right with the trackball, and do it very very slow, it tracks right very very slow. If I turn it a bit faster, it turns a bit faster. Now if I turn it right very fast, the turret slows down and turns slow. It's like there's this maximum rotational speed and if I go over this speed with my trackball then whatever I'm controlling slows down inversely. Strange. It seems to be selective though, as I only notice it with vehicle turrets, machine guns etc but not controlling my player's view nor a helo. I'm using the stock Windows XP mouse driver. AnotherEd uses the exact same trackball and driver combination, but reports no problems. I might switch to a regular mouse for BF2 if I remember next time.

I would also like it if I could change the mouse sensitivity of the main turret gun separately from the machine gun, as the turret is fine but the machine gun moves around too quick.

Lesson to learn: Remember my keyboard remappings!

Lesson confirmed: There's still something I need to figure out how to join squads.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Routing at Rowdy Guns

Last night all of my favourite servers were either completely full or completely empty, so I hopped onto the Rowdy Guns server. Things were going okay for a while, but once Operation Clean Sweep loaded, things started to fall apart.

Now I guess I may as well get it out of the way: I'm just a Corporal, having logged just over 35 hours multiplayer, so yes, I'm a newb. Yes, I suck. No, I don't know all the intricacies of this game. Yes, I'll complain about them anyway thank you very much.

I was MEC. Sniper. Why sniper? Since I'm a newb, I feel it is my duty to learn to play every class equally for a while until I get the hang of them. Yesterday was sniper day. Anyhow, I tried to join the squads, but as usual for me, they were all locked and I couldn't join any. So I went solo and worked on defense of the 1st flag at the front line, and called in enemy positions. As it turned out, the enemy took a transport helo to our main airbase in the back island, took it over and started a 2-prong approach.

After a while it dawned on me that our team had no commander, so I stuck up my hand and got myself the job. After about 5 minutes of raining death on pretty much nothing, and only having 1 request for supplies, I resigned, hoping someone with some good leadership skills would take over. No such luck.

We were being pounded pretty heavily from the air, I think they had stolen our jet, and we were being constantly dogged whereever we went. After very little success fighting the air units, I decided to spec ops and take out their artillery and command trailer. I didn't get too far, because their commander was scanning me and artying me at almost every opportunity that I had to get to a boat. At one point I had finally gotten a boat, then about halfway across I came up against a boat with 2 soldiers in it; I tried to outrun them since I was outgunned but they killed me a few hundred yards from the shore.

Since that didn't work I went back to sniper and spawned back at our rear bases, first trying to get a jet, but one of our guys managed to be doing okay with that. I took up a ground AA and took down a few helos and a jet or 2, but our ground forces weren't having much luck defending flags so I decided to go help. At this point we had 2 flags left, and the enemy was closing in. I was running towards our mobile AA vehicle when suddenly I got a few rounds in the back from a teammate. I checked the scoreboard and he had a score of -6, so I figured he was just learning. A while later he did the same thing, again and again. Always shooting me to within an inch of death then leaving. I called for an admin - there were a bunch of {GOB} players on - but no on seemed to care. I guess they only care when it's affecting their team. I read their rules which states "No TK'ing allowed" but I guess that doesn't include team "wounding". At one point the player actually TK'd me and I was happy to not forgive him. Right after that I spawned and another player who had just shown up TK'd me again. Great.

My buddy AnotherEd lives by the motto "PGUP for thumbs up! Always forgive!" which I generally do but I seem to attract the idiots. I might try Rowdy Guns again but if idiots are allowed to run free then that'll be another server on my Snuff List.

Lesson to learn: Why can't I join squads? Why would squad leaders lock people out who just want to help their team?

Lesson confirmed: I am a magnet for idiots.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Psychology of the Casual BF2 Gamer

You are a casual Battlefield 2 gamer. You are not "hardcore", whatever that is. You don't put food, work, or family aside to fire up BF2. You might find your ranking and stats interesting, but they don't define your online being. You are not your BF2 persona. Your BF2 name doesn't contain fake clan tags, it likely contains part of your real name. You want to occasionally join a server, see some big explosions, kill a few enemies, then call it a night. There are no battle stories to tell the wife, you are not interested in joining a clan. You spent good money on your computer, and it is a tool to you, not a way of life. BF2 is an occasional escape from reality, it doesn't define it. You might have owned a few other games in the past, and you may buy a few more in the future. You might have received BF2 as a gift or bought it for something to do, but you weren't the first in line to pre-order it. Frankly you'd rather be doing something in the garage or outside most of the time. You are the casual Battlefield 2 gamer.