And I've been playing and watching a lot more TF2 in the last week than I thought I'd be watching, and it's turning into a lot more fun than I thought it would be, too.
The Dungeon World adventure was really good. Dungeon World really sets things up so that the GM really has to listen to the players throughout and figure out which way to go and explore the game and figure out how it's going to go, together. I set up a pretty simple three-stage adventure, and both Teddy and Jet gave me bits in the first two fights that I was able to use in the third face-to-face with the big Baddy. The interesting thing was that my grasp of the numbers at an intuitive level (I hadn't really sat down to work through all the exact numbers for how strong the last villain was with respect to the characters and how they might or might not level up from the first two stages), it turned out that they were able to beat the final boss and ended up with only a few hit points each (after burning heal spells and a potion or two at strategic moments).
Teddy rolled abysmally throughout, so he leveled up very very quickly. *laughs* I love Dungeon World because it gives you XP for *failing* along with GM rewarded XP for doing something particularly clever and the usual XP for succeeding at goals. I made a lot of soft consequences where they had to make some difficult choices, and they had some really interesting consequences for making some crazy decisions.
Like after beating the boss, Teddy decided to throw some green goo from the altar that was dedicated to resurrecting a dinosaur/dragon skeleton on one of the dead enemies from before. Naturally, it came back to life, and nearly killed him and two other members of the group. Nothing quite like feeding back natural consequences.
The best thing was that both boys said that they had a blast, and wanted to play again, or do some play on their own. So I'll probably order Dungeon World through our local game store for Teddy for his birthday.
I've been having a blast at Team Fortress 2, too.
There was one game where we'd captured two out of three points and then the opposing team decided to spawn-camp us, i.e. just sit outside our spawn point and kill us before we could even get out. It was frustrating, and I changed to four different classes to figure out how to break us out. And then we WON the game. Someone had snuck out (probably as an invisible spy) during the craziness and capped the last point! It turns out that they were so busy spawn-camping us they didn't even think to defend the last point.
And the game turned around so that we were defending for the next round. So my team tried to defend the first two points and lost them pretty quickly to our enemies' superior one-on-one abilities, but then two engineers and I, as a Heavy (whose handsome pic you can see as my icon now), set up a three-way defense around the last capture point. Jet was one of the engies, and after he got his level three sentry up, he gave me his dispenser (which gives health and ammo). So I just stood there and spammed bullets at anyone that tried to get into the room.
I was the one at the point where the enemy could take straight shots at from the three entrances, but unlike the sentry guns, I could move, and since I could see the snipers and soldiers that came through, I could dodge their bullets and rockets with a quick sidestep at the right time. I've played sniper enough to know the timing that they have to wait in order to use their scopes, and I can time my dodges to that frequency. And they weren't waiting for a good shot because they were getting fired on by me or the two other sentries. The two sentries and I sometimes went down singly, but with the other two in place, we were able to protect the third position until they respawned and rebuilt.
It meant that the rest of the team could go and get all the kills they wanted and know that their last point was defended, and they did a lot of that and made it easier on us. We won in the end, using teamwork instead of one-to-one twitch prowess, and I'm very very happy that the game not only allows that but really encourages it with how the maps are laid out.
I've been watching a lot of YouTube videos by Jerma985 and STAR_. They play together, and Star's a really really excellent player with great reflexes, aim, and ability to kill just about anything he sets his sights on, and he's great at reviewing weapons, maps, and other stuff. Jerma isn't quite the same killing machine, though he's really good, too, and in a duel between them, Star hits Jerma dead on nearly all the time, and Jerma doesn't. *laughs*
The interesting thing is that I enjoy watching Jerma's vids more than Star's, for all of Star's prowess. Jerma has this amazing attitude toward the game, and he summed it up for me when he posted this vid about how, for him, the humor in TF2 is what really brings him back, over and over to the game. I agree with him. I get a great belly laugh nearly every game, and it's as often over the ridiculous ways I die as it is over some of the ridiculous ways I win a point or get a kill.
I was playing a pyro one afternoon, and I ran out of ammunition, pulled out my melee weapon and started to just crack up over the fact that I was trying to kill a Demoman, underwater, with a neon sign.
Today, I was playing King of the Hill on Nucleus, which has this super-exposed cap point in the center of three levels of places for people to aim at the center, and the basic idea is that either team has to hold the center point for three minutes total. I was my usual Heavy wearing my orange and yellow Tough Guy Toque and hauling along the Hu Long Heater, which has flames gouting out in all directions as I fire. I managed to clear all four of the surrounding walkways of enemies with help from my team. I had a medic healing me from behind, and right in the middle of capturing the point, my ammo ran out. Click click click, and my default secondary is the Sandvich.
That's right. A sandwich instead of the customary shotgun for a secondary weapon. It heals me, but it's utterly useless in a fight... and my melee weapons were useless since no one was within reach. Three other teammates rush onto the point. I start cackling and left click, and my Heavy starts to go "Om nom nom..." and eats his sandwich while just standing in the middle of the point. Some sniper should have taken the headshot on me. If they had it wouldn't have mattered, as my teammates would have captured the point anyway. As it was I regret not having snapped a screenshot.
It's stuff like that that just makes me cackle.
I also enjoy getting better at the game. I play medic more, now, as I like being support, but I still suck at surviving and not just running into a fight the way I'm used to doing with nearly all the other classes (no, I don't play sniper and spy much for the same reason, they're not supposed to run INTO the firefight). I'm getting better at it with the medic and I have to aim the mediguns to heal, so I'm getting better at aiming. I managed to stay alive long enough to do two ubercharges in one life! And I ended up on the MVP list at the end of a round, and getting a little notification that I'd assisted on more kills than I'd ever done before as a medic. I was pretty happy about that.
The really funny thing that happened was that I surprised a heavy, who was just standing in a shed. And I hit 1, and started firing on Heavy reflexes. Oops. With a Medic the primary weapon is a needle gun that does do some damage, but not nearly enough for a Heavy. The Heavy turned around, got his minigun going, and started firing at me, and just when he finished killing me, he blew up because one of my soldiers fired a rocket at him. I might have been able to dance out of the way of the hose of bullets, but I was laughing too hard at the idea of a Medic tackling a Heavy. Which isn't to say that it can't be done, as I've been killed by Medics before as a Heavy, but not usually when I'd just found a health pack the way he had.
Jet persuaded me this afternoon to go into an Mann vs Machine game even though we were limited on time, and I went in as a Heavy and was very very happy with my play, though I was sad about getting my medic killed a couple of times by wading a little too far into the fight. I do remember defending my medic from robo-scouts and a bevy of soldiers. Jet thought it was funny that I was saying, "No you don't! No touching my medic!!", but in Jerma's video on the new Cactus Canyon payload map, he says it too. It's interesting what kind of common emotions the game evokes.
One amazing thing for me was realizing that that the Heavy can body-block robots from getting to the game-ending hatch. I hadn't even thought to try that, before this game, and when one of the robots actually stood on the hatch with the bomb, I physically body-blocked it away from the hatch, firing the whole time. I probably should have used my boxing gloves instead of the minigun, but I totally didn't think of it at the time. Then at the very end of one wave, a HeavyBot was coming with the bomb, and I ran out to just run into it and keep it back from the hatch. I figured I could buy us some time. Then my medic Ubercharged me right when I smashed into it. It fell into pieces, and we won the wave.
There's certain aspects of the physics of the game that work beautifully like that. Like the Soldier and Demoman and Engineer being able to Rocket Jump by firing rockets at their feet and jumping onto the blast wave and riding it. It also means that my Pyro, when someone fires rockets at him, can jump into the blast wave and go far far higher than I could just jumping. I take damage from the blast, but not enough to kill me, and I can fire at people I couldn't otherwise see while I'm up there. I also can act like a clay pigeon in a shotgun shoot, too, if they're fast enough on the draw.
The other thing I was watching was the Insomnia replays from the world-wide TF2 competition that happened in London this last summer. And the play in those games is insane. It's like watching World Cup soccer, where you know that these guys have played together for years, and it's their pride and the pride of their countries on the line. And the action is so fast that it's hard, sometimes, to even make out what's happening. I realized that I wasn't ever going to play like that, anymore than I could play World Cup soccer, but that I could enjoy it as I'd enjoy watching a sport.
I learned a lot from watching, too, mostly about the capabilities of the classes that I hadn't even known were possible. I got a lot out of watching Star recording his team of six taking on one of the toughest Mann vs Machine levels, and not only their individual play but how they played together and used the voice channel to help each other out. I'm in love with the Rescue Ranger, now, and Jet gave me an extra one he had. So I was playing engie for the end of a payload game, and I had a sentry up on a platform. I had difficulties getting to it to maintain it as a pyro was firing his flare gun at me every time I was up there. So I just used my Rescue Ranger to bring it down to a more protected spot, and keep out of harm's way and still have my level three sentry gun maintained properly.
Of course, half a minute later, with three Engies all set up in there, two Heavies who were helping to guard the point started to do the Conga Dance taunt together. *laughs and laughs and laughs* I joined in the line dance until Blu started pushing again and the bullets started flying.
Only in TF2.