I take in a deep breath and look over the land with great fondness.
Ahh, Badwater Basin. Nope, not that real life basin of “bad water” over at Death Valley. I’m talking about one of the oldest maps in the Team Fortress 2 universe, the second Payload map added to the game. Yep, good ol’ pl_badwater.
That’s right, the little basin in the shape of Australia, you bloody fruit shop owners.
Badwater Basin has always been one of my favorite maps in Team Fortress 2. I believe I started falling in love it when I was a wee lad with only 100 or so hours in the game. You know, back when Quick Play existed and we didn’t have that new game mode people can’t get enough of.
I mean seriously, I’ve never flipped it 3 times in a row yet. [Source]
There may be plenty of maps available now, but I still find myself drawn to the Basin today. Its charm has never quite dulled for me yet, and probably never will. As so, here are three things I just love about Badwater Basin.
An all-class map
I’ve played in many maps in TF2, but Badwater Basin is among the maps I find to be balanced enough for me to enjoy playing as any class I choose. There’s just something about its pathing and choke points that allows me to be flexible with characters I want to play with… Until some pubstomping tyrant angrily points out having 5 spies in his team.
But we need the combined power of our 5 spies to beat the 5 sentries of the other team! [Source]
Whether you’re a market gardening Soldier or a Lime Scout, Badwater’s got enough space and corners to let you do your own thing. Just remember to push the payload – to extend the time for mischief and other hijinks.
Teamwork in TF2?!
I’ve always been a casual player, which means that I am used to being called a tryhard if I want to, you know, work on the objective of the game. However, for some reason, 90% of the time I’m on a Valve Badwater map, I notice that I tend to actually try for the objective, and that many of my other teammates do, too. Sure, you get the Strange Farmer here and there, but it’s not uncommon for me to see communication for coordinated pushes or tactical brainstorming happen.
OKAY TEAM, THROW YOURSELF AT THE CART NOW! [Source]
While I sometimes laugh at how serious some are over a casual game, I honestly relish the teamwork that is fostered for at least 20 minutes in this particular map. I’m guessing this is in part because of how Badwater is among the maps used for competitive TF2, but it’s more likely because of the hypnotic serum Valve has incorporated to the map to awaken the competitive beast in their players.
That is, unless your team is full of players who just installed the game 10 minutes ago, then scrap that and enjoy the spawncamping.
Okay, it’s true. Badwater Basin was one of the maps that I spent hours upon hours on when I was working towards my first hundred hours in Team Fortress 2. That being said, I probably know this map like the back of my hand, and each little nook and cranny gives me a hint of nostalgia over the memories of when I was an inept bumbling merc (especially now that I’m a not-so-bad-but-still-kinda-inept bumbling merc).
I also have plenty of memories of those trollgineers that found (and exploited) each nook and cranny. [Source]
Yep, this was where this young Padawan trained to be fit for the battlefield – and ended up miserably dying over and over again. But hey, thanks to Badwater’s eternal sunny skies and cheerful industrial buildings, it always pushed me to get up, try again, and frankly stop being a crybaby. (Oh wait, that was thanks to the unending abuse I got while training as a young Medic. My bad. Still, Badwater’s pretty great.)
Good Ol’ Badwater
As you probably have guessed, I really, really love pl_badwater – almost as much as aabicus loves orange chicken. As so, even today, I tend to be among the ranks of mercenaries who fight in the gravel wars of the Basin. Oh, I know it’s not a perfect map*, by all means. But it’s one close to my heart, and no new Payload map will ever change that (though I do enjoy a good match on Borneo).
What about you? What do you think of Badwater?
So yeah, I guess you know where to find me when I say I’ll hop on TF2 now. (No, it’s not in my parents’ basement.) See you in the Badlands, friend. Gesundheit!
*I mean, I really wish Blu’s spawn moved up sooner, and that the second spawn actually had more entrances. (If only pl_badwater_pro were in circulation!) But I believe that Medic here nitpicks about it in an anti-Badwater article, so watch out for that.