Lately, I’ve been playing games other than Team Fortress 2, hence my recent name changes on Steam. You can probably guess what I’ve been playing a lot of from my current name, and said being will appear in an article later on. But once again, I’m dwardling when I should be actually talking about stuff. After playing other games, I have come to the opinion that Team Fortress 2 has the best control points ever.
A lot of games have control points, although they’re generally just called objectives or something boring. The whole point of one is to keep a team of players (or even just one) in a single area, killing stuff until they can continue on with whatever they’re supposed to be doing. In most games, especially Player VS AI coop games, you pull a lever, stand around for a bit, fight some enemies and continue on. In multiplayer games, you generally have to hold said area for a bit before, well, continuing on. Sometimes an enemy can fight back and recapture their lost land, sometimes they can’t.
In the first FPS I ever played, Left 4 Dead, holding an area like this was often called a Crescendo Event. Standard procedure was: get ammo and guns, get your throwables, to get all your petrol cans ready, gather around close together, generally in a corner, get someone to pull the lever and then fight until the infected (they’re not zombies, dammit) calm down, or run and fight until the infected calm down. After the first few playthroughs, it kinda gets repetitive.
Another game with control points is my old love-and-hate relationship game League of Legends. As well as Summoner’s Rift, which is your basic 3 lanes, jungle, turrets, random things you have to destroy and one bug thing you have to destroy, it’s got a strange version of a control point map called Dominion. Dominion is a weird cross between King of the Hill and normal 5cp Control Point maps. There’s five control points that you have to capture. If you own more points than the enemy, you drain points from their ‘Nexus’. You also drain points by killing people. But the problem is, when you go to capture these control points, 1. they’ll fire lasers at you if an enemy is nearby and 2. you have to stand completely still while you capture said control point. On top of the “it’s not Summoner’s Rift” vibe it has and the problem with large numbers of bot accounts if you’re under level 30, the poor game mode is not exactly well loved.
So where does this lead us? Back to Team Fortress 2 of course. Why are they so great? Because what they do is obvious. Control points stick out like a sore thumb on the terrain, and have big glowing holograms that suggest they might be important. But the special thing is when you stand on one. You take a step onto a control point, the HUD tells you you’re capturing or defending and the Announcer gives you more information. The default countdown timer for capturing points is elegant and simple. And even if you’re half-way across the map, you can see what’s being captured.
Alright, Medic, calm down. This sort of stuff happens in loads of multiplayer games. Half that stuff happens in Dominion. But a lot of games make you have to press a button or pull a lever or channel a spell while you capture your control point. In TF2, you just stand on it and you’re golden. There’s the nice feature that more players mean you capture the point quicker too.
But the one thing that really sticks out is something not often considered in other games. Each control point is tweaked and tested to speed up or slow down the game for attackers and defenders alike. Let’s have a quick look at, I don’t know, Gravelpit. Control Points A and B take longer to capture than C. But C is much harder to defend than A or B and can’t be captured until they’ve been captured. On the flip side, C is captured far more quickly than A or B once someone from BLU stands on it. The thing that makes TF2’s control points special is that they take enemy effort to get to that point into consideration.
Now, TF2’s control points are fine. So is TF2’s Capture the Flag mode, but the problem there is with the maps, not the game. I wonder if we’ll ever get a Jackhammer CTF mode for TF2? Because Loadout’s CTF mode is so much fun.
Still, 5cp is fun.