Taking the Fight to the Robots

When is Valve going to add offensive MvM missions? Ever since the amazing opening trailer showed BLU and RED uniting against a common foe, I’ve been wanting to see the other half of Mann Co’s defenses getting in on the action. And I know I’m not the only one.

Picture by Zapsie
Picture by Zapsie

It’s not even particularly difficult to come up with the method of gameplay. One way or another, it’ll probably involve BLU team delivering a bomb to robot factories or other tactically-beneficial targets that are guarded by robots with a slightly redder hue. Most people seem to think the bomb should be either a flag-style carryable or a weapon-replacing held item like Gnome Chompski from Left 4 Dead 2, but I personally think that Valve’s most likely going to make it a Payload-style bomb that the mercs must push to its final destination. Payload would allow them to set a minimum time for the round and it’s far more teamwork-oriented than Deliver-the-Flag.

Speaking of Left 4 Dead 2, this could be a great opportunity for Valve to port over some of the gameplay mechanics that worked, since both involve a small team wading through hordes of enemies to reach the finish line. Mvm_mannhattan added a new map variable in the form of forward spawns; by capturing control points the robot army was able to advance the spot they deployed from, allowing them to put more pressure on the defenders. This mechanic would shine on an attack MvM map, allowing Valve to make long, sprawling maps composed of a number of smaller pushes where the players must reach checkpoints to save their progress towards the final goal.

Now for what might be a controversial idea: What if there were a form of “AI Director” who could alter the waves of enemies depending on the team consistency and status of the session? Spawn the giant robots at slightly alterable times so you aren’t sure when you’ll turn a corner to find Sgt. Crits’ viking hat bearing down on you. Canonically Valve could explain it away by giving Grey Mann some sort of surveillance system that allows him to witness the attackers and command his defenses on the fly. MvM has suffered from some amounts of repetitiveness in its current form, what with the enemies always coming in predictable waves of predetermined rank and file. Perhaps an element of randomness could aid replayability. Not to mention that it would develop a completely different metagame with a fresh set of weapon concepts and loadouts. MvM is already notable for giving new meaning to otherwise useless tripe like the Third Degree and Fan O’War, it’d be great to see what another whole gamestyle could do for some other TF2 weapon choices.

I find it very hard to believe Valve hasn’t been thinking of attack-mode MvM from the beginning. I just really want it to come out, the promise of MvM uniting RED and BLU feels unfulfilled until it does.

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