Can you be a member of too many Highlander teams? Berath’s Brain Burps thinks no you cannot and to prove the point is now a member of a fourth Highlander team (or fifth if you count the mercing for Cats Don’t Eat Haggis). This team is perhaps the largest Highlander team in the world and goes under the rather puzzling name of Swarthy Spanish Sean Connery As far as I understand it, I’m back-up back-up engineer so I’m not expecting the demands made upon me to be great.
The first match has already been played (on Lakeside) and won. I was out at the time. The next map is cp_croissant.
All this is happening in the UGC League. The UGC (United Gaming Clans) League is another TF2 League like ETF2L. It has a Highlander League and a 6v6 League and separate divisions for NA teams, EU teams, South American teams, Asian teams and Aus/NZ teams. Swarthy Spanish Sean Connery (team tag mish) is sitting in the lowest EU division, Euro Steel, which makes sense as many of the members are first-time Highlander players.
In other TF2 news, FNR! has started the new ETF2L Season 14 with a loss. FNR! has been seeded in Division 4B; that’s getting to the position where the majority of your opponents know exactly what they’re doing and have practiced. And I’m afraid it’s the not practicing that let FNR! down. For various reasons, the team had had little opportunity to play any scrims or pcws the previous week or so and it showed. The team didn’t seem to gel, particularly on Gullywash, a map that previously hadn’t been a problem (the first map was Badlands), and their opponents consistently got the better of them, mainly the scouts. Practice has taken place for the next game, so hopefully the team will be back on track. Individually skillwise, they’re already there. So anyway, it’s all eyes on tomorrow’s match.
Goodness me, I can’t believe how long ago the last post was written. So much has happened!
Well actually that’s not true. Not much has happened at all. Handbags at Dawn entered the Round Robin and didn’t get past the first round. In fact we didn’t win a match though I think we won a couple of rounds in the KOTH viaduct_pro match. It was as expected really. We had some good players in Handbags but as I said after the Show-match, we weren’t winnning conclusively and reliably enough against the teams we were facing. I’m not sure what we needed, certainly more practice together and it didn’t help that in the European Round Robin they changed the maps from Viaduct and Barnblitz which we’d practiced for the showmatch to Viaduct_pro and Barnblitz_pro which we hadn’t practiced at all.
However it was fun and such a strange experience playing in an all-female team with only female voices on Mumble. This was commented on by at least a couple of women, it felt so odd when you’re used to every other voice being male and you being often so much in the minority.
After it all, we didn’t disband the team. People enjoyed playing together and we’ve said that we’ll look to H@D entering similar tournaments in the future. We’ve certainly increased the number of women we each have on our Steam friends lists and I’ve a few more Highlander players that I can call upon should KCaLtL need any mercs if we enter the next ETF2L Highlander season.
The Transatlantic Highlander Showdown is over and Handbags at Dawn didn’t do too badly though unfortunately final bragging rights went to the North Americans. We lost on pl_Barnblitz, won on Viaduct (a King of the Hill map) and lost on pl_Badwater.
To be honest I wasn’t that surprised. The payload maps were played on their servers which meant that ping was a bit of an isssue, but over and above this, we hadn’t really been winning our payload games conclusively enough during our practice scrims to be able to be totally confident of victory.
We came close to winning the final map on Badwater though. We managed to hold first until there were just a few seconds left of the game but then they got it with the help of a well-timed uber on the cart. After that, the timer went up after each cap until by the last point we would have had to have held them for about 10 minutes to win.
But whatever, the games were fun (the main reason for it all) and a good time was had by all, and hopefully by the viewers on the stream as well.
It was strange playing in an all-female team and against an all-female team as well. Someone remarked how odd it felt referring to everyone as ‘she’ when ‘he’ is the usual default. So often in teams, the only female player plays Medic whilst the men go out and get the frags (female = healing/support role), there was a joke going round before the match wondering how teams of 9 medics would work. Here fragging, and everything else, was up to us and there could be no snide remarks about girls being carried!
We also had various comments beforehand from the community. On the ETF2L forum, posters stated a desire to tune in simply to hear our comms. This puzzled me. It was later clarified; apparently more than one female in comms = bitching and arguments so the thought of 9 of them blew males’ minds. Alright. There were also the predictable sexual comments in various forums and arguments over the very existence of girls’ teams…basically they were separatist and excluding. An argument I’ve yet to hear over the existence of the national TF2 teams. It’s true that I’d object to an all male team that refused females unless there was a specific reason (gay, male bodybuilders, castratos); why have such a team anyway when 99% of teams are 100% male. If the majority of players were female and a group of males wanted to play TF2 together for fun though, I’d like to think that I’d respect that as some in-game ‘man time’.
In the terms of a serious competitive all-female team, I’m torn. It’d be nice showing females can compete equally with males and be taken seriously but the final goal really is to have many good female Demos/scouts/soldiers etc playing on mixed teams. That in itself would be proof.
(I can see it…last Saturday, an 11 year old girl watching with her Dad, excited by seeing other girls playing games, thinks ’what a bunch of no-name scrubs, I can do better’ and 5 years later is playing in Prem, because of course TF2 will go on forever)
Anyhow, it’s now preparation for the Round Robin on Sunday. We’re with the EU teams and Lady Fortress 2 with the NA teams. In between planning for our revenge match when we’ll send them packing, I wish them luck.
Yes, we have a team logo, and we have a live cast for the first ever All-girl, transatlantic TF2 HL showdown!
Kip finally got her priorities straightened and realised that TF2 was far more important than any paper she needed to write and is going to cast the game live. I’d imagine, if asked, she’d just give some guff about wanting to support female comp gamers and publicising the Reddit Round Robin the following weekend blah blah whatever, but I think we know, in reality, it’s just so she’ll have a frontline view as, once again, EU faces are ground in the dirt by the TF2 master nation. She thinks! (c.f. i46)
It was a toss up between a cast on her twitch channel or eXtv’s. It was decided to go for Kip’s own, going for community rather than traffic.
Date: Saturday 1st December
Time: 9pm (uk time)
I hope it’ll prove entertaining whoever wins. We’ll have fun I’m sure. Viva EU!
The final match in S3 of Highlander ended with a default win. Oh well. We’d all gathered ourselves together on a Saturday evening, prepared to do battle and nothing happened, the other team (Brotherhood) didn’t show. Well actually none of that’s quite accurate. We didn’t ‘all’ gather together, only 8 of us did. There was some frantic last minute trawling of Steam friends lists to fill that last spot and fortunately we managed to come up with a Handbag who stood in as our Heavy (thanks dok). And the other team did show up, sort of. Their leader arrived, 30 minutes late, apologised and officially defaulted the match; all very civilised.
The end result it Keep Calm and Listen to Lefty are now top of the Division, but the other two main teams have matches in hand that’s not going to last forever. I read the rules and I think after a team has two default losses, it has to drop out. This was Brotherhood’s second so they may be disappearing. This will change the results of all the top three teams, I’m not sure how as I haven’t thought about it much beyond that. I suspect we will finish third.
Handbags at Dawn has continued to practice. We’ve been doing better in our lobbies and this evening we won our first matches against another Highlander team which was a bit of a confidence booster as our Reddit Round Robin showmatch with the NA Ladies is on Saturday. There are still hopes that it will be cast live, otherwise it’ll be the stv demo. Our main caster, Kip, is keen. I’m not thinking about it as I’m not too sure about being live-cast with lots of people watching us. My only hope is that ‘lots’ really means ‘a few’…a handful of fond and incomprehending mothers and loyal boyfriends/partners perhaps. There has been very little publicity so fingers crossed.
Finally I’ve been playing Demo in some of fraac’s mixes in his new/low 6v6 mix group. It’s been fun. I’m amazed that people not only remember me when I log on but actually ask and expect me to play Demoman. It’s shows that my play doesn’t ruin their games! It’s also interesting how playing 6v6 has changed how I play on pub servers. I’ve started to time pushes and note when we’ve a numbers advantage. When I play Medic I look for pockets; usually only temporary ones as it is pub after all. Going on from this I now find I have an even stronger preference for servers where comp players play, not because they are more skilled but because amongst them you’re more likely to find a Demoman, Soldier or Heavy who knows what’s going on when he finds a Medic trailing behind him and will wait for uber to build before pushes.
It doesn’t happen that often (especially without mics) but when it does, and I’m the Medic or the Demo, it’s good. You feel in control of your game.
(Update: forgot to mention, on pl_upward we ended up winning one round, losing two, picking up 2 points to the other team’s 4.)
So what’s been going on in the world of TF2 and WDG lately?
Well FNR! had their final 6v6 game in ETF2L, coming 3rd overall and outside the promotion spots. Not bad, but frustrating considering that FNR! lost points gained from two wins due to teams dropping after the matches, a third win was a default win; that team dropped too. This meant that overall, FNR! had 2 draws and 1 loss, none of their wins counting. I’m not sure what can be done about teams dropping. It distorts results; conceivably at least one of the teams that FNR! defeated could have won against one of the higher placed teams, and just messes people around. Four teams eventually didn’t make it through in div 5H and most other divisions lost at least one.
Keep Calm and Listen to Lefty took to the field again in Highlander S3 and so far we’ve lost one game on pl_Badwater (I didn’t play in that) and won the one on cp_Steel which surprised me. I did get lost but managed to turn my losing direction into unexpected flanking manoeuvres. Apart from that I just focussed on each point as we moved up, using regular sentry guns on both attack and defense. I decided doing any fancy teleport placements was probably a bit risky and asking for confusion. Our next game is on pl_Upward. We were steamrolled last time we played this.
Handbags at Dawn, with a full female roster now, have had two lobbying sessions; we need to get better. It’s the usual thing, working out our comms and timing pushes. The first week we played, the opposing team filled up with players who seemed to know various members. Some seemed to take a particular delight in the concept of playing and beating us. ‘Prepare for the rape, I have condoms’ as one said. Hey ho. Anyway, the plan is to organise a Show-match with our North American equivalents before the tournament itself. This should be fun and be yet another chance for the EU to redeem ourselves after i46 and prove ourselves to the US! I don’t think the game will be cast live, but we’re looking to get Kip, a female US eXtv caster (the only one) and either Dolphin, an up and coming US female caster or CSaur, one of our EU team members to to do it.
A Hive of Scum and Villainy have lost a member, one of our keenest who started the newbie mix group, he’s since joined another team formed from some of the regulars there. This has been rather a final blow for the newly formed team. It was already proving difficult to get people together to play matches, we were only managing once a week if that and, to improve, a team of our skill level really needed to play far more often. However it is possible that we’ll be able to pick up more members, we’d be looking at two for each class and in the meantime the ones that want to, will carry on playing in the mix group. There are several mixes every evening. I’ve been playing Demo more in these. I’m still very bad but getting less bad I think, certainly on maps I’m more familiar with; cp_gullywash, cp_process and cp_snakewater now. Certainly, when there’s been opportunity for me to play medic I’ve been kept on Demoman which shows touching faith from the other mixers.
It’s been a while since my last post largely due to the intervention of a significant international event (holiday in Turkey) and much has happened in the world of TF2 and the WDG community. Firstly FNR! has continued destroying Div 5H, a total of four teams have now dropped. FNR! is currently lying third with one game to go, against the team in second place. FNR! will need to win this to be promoted. The last game was a draw; two maps were played, cp_Gullywash and cft_turbine_pro. Yes, a CTF map. And guess which map FNR! lost. Further evidence that the WDG community sucks at CTF maps.
A Hive of Scum and Villainy continues to be rolled but a newbie mix group has now been formed which has given everyone the opportunity to practice with equally bad people even when not all the team is available. I’ve joined in a few mixes and even managed to play Demoman a couple of times, the pressure to play Medic is strong, Medic is a less popular class (scout seems the most). It’s a nice group.
Keep Calm and Listen to Lefty is now signed up ready for Season 3 of ETF2L Highlander…we’re in Div 5 again which makes sense, even though there are no CTF maps, as we never practice. One of the maps is cp_steel, a map I have never played without getting lost.
And finally in December, there is the Season 6 Round Robin one day TF2 Highlander Tournament. This originated on Reddit with the aim to involve players at all levels and all experiences both already in teams and as individuals grouping together, and soon spread beyond. It was suggested on the TF2X sub-reddit, a gathering place of TF2 she-mercs, that it would be fun to form an all-female mix team and so Handbags at Dawn was formed. HaD are an EU team, there is a second NA team. Most of us are already members of clans and teams but have never played in a same-gender team before. It’s unusual to get more than a couple of females together and we want to know what 100% is like, though we have a few he-mercs along too for our delectation and to keep us happy! Anyhow, I’ll be back in my normal Highlander role as Engineer, I think we’ve got the other classes sorted and I think they’re all female.
It’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted so I thought it time to have a leisurely stroll thought the latest TF2 happenings in the WDG community; out of deference to the older members of the Readership, I’ll go no faster.
For No Raisin! are currently (that could be a joke) at the top of Division 5H (but see update). After their first game was a draw, they went on to two victories and one default win; the other team got confused and didn’t turn up.
The first game was against a polish team, NIGDY NIE MIAŁEM LEPSZEGO BRZUCHA. This team had already won their first match and were heading the Division. I’m very sorry to report that NNMLB did not behave well. They claimed that they would beat FNR! 5-0 (providing no evidence). They changed their names to pastiches of FNR! members in mockery and, most distastefully, they used a highly offensive racial term against one of the FNR! Soldiers (a reportable offence).
This was a match FNR! had to win.
Psychology played a part here. At the start FNR! could have risen (or rather lowered themselves) to the taunts of NNMLB and emotions become involved; hot tempers = poor play. Instead they worked to remain calm and focussed on the game. The first map was Gullywash. NNMLB played well but FNR! had the edge and won 3-0. I think this rattled NNMLB. Their previous match had probably been easy, they felt untouchable, already Kings of the Division, now they’d met a reasonable oppostion.
The next map was Granary and you could see the style of play change. At first it was less focussed but then they increased their aggression and took two rounds from FNR! Again psychology was important. FNR! became a little too relaxed as NNMLB organisation went initially and didn’t respond quickly enough when they suddenly switched. FNR! then , re-focussed and stepped up to meet NNMLB who then promptly seemed to fall apart, I’d guess their comms were chaos.
At the end, most of the team ragequit the server.
The following day, one of the members left the team, two weeks later a second went. It now looks highly likely the team will fold. If it does, this will void the victory and FNR! will lose their points.
The second game was against vier//green. This was an easy victory. A couple of days later, the team folded. The latest match was facing trauma, who didn’t turn up. So far they’re still together (but see update). The next match scheduled is against MPGaming. By all accounts these are one of the strongest teams in the Division so the match will be tough.
Apart from all this, a Hive of Scum and Villainy is continuing to get rolled in every game though we’re starting to get pretty good at holding last and a few times have managed to hold middle. There is still much we have to work on as a team (comms and positioning) and for myself, individually. It has been hard to get everyone together for practice and we’ve had to rely on backups. We’ve tried to vary them so we don’t wear them out with our ineptitude.
Finally a bit of Highlander action. Keep Calm and Listen to Lefty entered the ETF2L Highlander Experimental Cup #3, a one-night cup playing maps new to the League. Our first game was on a CTF (capture the flag) map. We had to capture the intelligence and bring it to a central point. We were rolled; observers on the stream said communication was almost non-existent and we failed to tactically respond when the other team were obviously drawing ahead. I remember we lost badly on the last CTF map we played. I can only conclude that we suck at CTF.
Update: trauma have now folded as well, voiding the default victory and losing FNR! their points, I’m seeing a theme here. FNR! are now 2nd in Div 5H but have a game in hand over the MPGaming who are now first.
FNR! had their first game last night and got off to a pretty solid start, losing 3-5 on Badlands but winning 6-3 on Gullywash, overall achieving a Draw. Their opponents were Team Euphoria who used some interesting tactics, using two pyros at one stage on Gullywash and not just on last, normally you only see one pyro defending the last point by airblasting ubers away. Watching, it seemed the initial effectiveness of the pyros was largely due to the element of surprise, but once that was gone, the soldiers and scouts seemed to take them out relatively easily without them bringing much to what was going on.
The other piece of 6v6 news from the WDG community, is the birth of a Hive of Scum and Villainy. Yes, at long last, I have a 6v6 team! I’m not sure if we’ll be keeping the name, for some reason it kept going round in my head everytime I thought of us, so I decided to go with it for the time being.
Anyhow, we’ve played a few games now and done badly but spirits remain high. We’ve played a few games this week, the first via tf2lobby and after various confusions involving map names and server configurations, got a game together on cp_gullywash which we lost but not before we managed to capture a couple of points and even drive our opposition to last once. In the excitement of it all, I had a bit of a positional awareness situation at the start (I fell off mid) but by the end had managed to rally myself and manage some nice sticky traps.
For the next games, we had a couple of FNR! with us. We were playing a Div 6 teams so you could argue that this was unfair and that they’d carry us, but as one of us remarked, currently we’re so bad we’re beyond carrying so it didn’t really matter. We had varying success, in one game winning a round, but going to pieces in others; looking at you Badlands. It was useful having FNR! with us as they gave us tips as we played and much feedback afterwards. Much.
It’s still about teamwork, communication and positioning, and getting out of those bad pub playing habits. Our soldier found himself bombing our opponents when he had 2 hps; doesn’t matter in pub, does in 6v6, I found myself isolated but carried on merrily spamming choke instead of retreating, doesn’t matter in pub, does in 6v6. It’s very different.
But we all feel that together, in our raw unformed state, we’ve something to work with and we’re having fun, so it’s all good.
(as an aside, while I was reading up on stuff about playing 6v6, I found a post in the ETF2L forum on team cohesion. Copied from NATF2 forum and written by one hooli, it states, and at this point the younger and/or more fragile of the Readership may consider looking away:
You have to understand balance and how it plays it’s part in TF2. You have yin; the soft, passive, feminine and supporting principle of the universe. Much like the nourishing and life giving breasts of a women(that is why females are physiologically inclined to play medic). And then you have yang, the hard, aggressive, masculine and offensive principle of the universe. Much like my p_s.
The full text can be found here http://natf2.com/topics/7091-hooli-s-team-cohesion-guide
To be fair though, he does make some good points.
It’s been all go in the WDG community this week on the 6v6 front. For No Raisin!, previously of Highlander fame, now has a 6v6 squad; also known as For No Raisin!
On Thursday, ETF2L held a One Night Cup on cp_Process, a new map for ETF2L Season 13 6v6 competition, partly for fun and partly to give teams the opportunity to practice on the map before the Season begins. FNR! entered, placing themselves in the Lowest Bracket and came first, winning a little gold cup icon.
An inside source for FNR! informed Berath’s Brain Burps that possibly FNR! could have been placed in the next highest bracket, but he felt, being a new and untried team, it was best to not too attempt too much, too soon. Indeed the team had much individual skill and past experience of 6v6, but working together, pulling it out of the bag in competition was no certainty. However, the inside source then went on to say, that he’d be looking for FNR! to be playing S13 in Div 5.
Berath’s Brain Burps then took the opportunity to ask the inside source for their thoughts on WDG community Highlander team; will it be entering Season 3 of the ETF2L Highlander Community Challenge? The inside source said he thought it probably would as people seemed to enjoy it. Whether this woud be as FNR!, KCaLTL (Keep Calm and Listen to Lefty) or under a third new name is not certain.
And what about the newbie WDG community 6v6 team? Five players have now been assembled so progress has been made.
Update: Indeed, ETF2L have just released the provisional divisions for S13 and FNR! are in Division 5