How to Stay Alive for More Than Ten Seconds in Team Hardcore
Team Hardcore, to the uninitiated, or fresh-faced player is a new kind of hell. It is the level of hell where sinners spawn, hear three pops and drop dead. Respawn, a fizz, two pops, drop dead. Respawn, four pops, dead. You get the idea.
But there's more to Team Hardcore than spawning and then dropping dead. Allegedly. Our new pro-oriented Playlist has a lot to offer players both seasoned and virginal. You just have to know the ropes.
Anyone who's played me knows that the only advice I can give is to grab the skull and hide in a corner, thrashing the melee attack button and peeing yourself. So I enlisted the help of a professional, all the way from
Major League Gaming
, better known as the
We found help in the form of Dolbex, the director of communications for MLG. Don't worry, he's a gamer, not a paid flack. Dolbex (real name, Gary Williams) takes a lot of heat from Bungie and Halo.Bungie.Org. In fact, there's a tradition of insulting him that goes back thousands of years. You see, Dolbex is a hardcore player. So hardcore in fact, that at one HBO LAN party (playing Halo one) he showed up with a duke controller, fused, in unholy matrimony to a digital watch, so that he could time weapon respawns to the microsecond.
Dismissing cheating accusations with the qualifier that anyone could attach a digital watch to their controller, he was henceforth never to be known as Dolbex again. From that moment on, he would become "Suckbex, Turdbex, Cheatbex, Jerkbex " and so on. It should be noted that Toolbex is not only extraordinarily good at the game, he's also extraordinarily pleasant and in real life, modest.
Pleasant enough to sit down with us and give us noobz some pointers for the horror that lurks inside Team Hardcore.
"I hope they don't attack us from space."
Lots of folks misunderstand the relationship between Bungie and MLG. The MLG picks games that suit their tournament style, they don't design playlists for us, and we don't interfere with their tournaments. As a matter of fact, we have a very pleasant, friendly relationship. The fact that it took nearly a year to have a "Pro" playlist on Halo 2 matchmaking has much more to do with the reality of playlist design and the current makeup of players than anything else.
Not that the MLG didn't want one. Crapbex explains, "I emailed Sketch and asked if it would be possible for MLG to have a playlist that we could have input on and update on a fairly regular basis. More or less like a practice playlist for our events. Sketch contacted me a few days later and gave us the skinny. Apparently it wasn't all that easy to update a playlist's game types for several reasons (B.net, stats, Xbox Live stuff, etc)."
So we put MLG off for a bit, but a hardcore playlist was imagined from the very outset. However, putting one in at the launch of the game would have been a terrible idea. The barrier to entry for normal players would have been too high, and left most players with a bad taste in their mouths. Basically, we had to wait until this was something that could please the majority of players. But it was not designed simply for the MLG. In fact, we did wonder if the MLG would find our interpretation of a "pro" playlist to their liking.
Smegbex assured us it was. "I think
Dyslexia summed that question up very well in his recent write-up on MLG
. While the playlist isn't a direct copy of the MLG tourney game types, it definitely has roots in what we are playing. I think most everyone is finding the playlist a lot of fun and enjoying kicking some ass with the weapon-set they know best. Just this morning I saw on our forums a post by TWISTED-BULLET that was entitled: 'Christmas Came Early! Matchmade in Heaven.' If that doesn't tell you people are enjoying it, I don't know what will."
But we're not here to be patted on the back by Fartbex or the MLG. We're here to help you, the ruddy-cheeked cherub gamer, enter the black horror of Team Hardcore with maximum lubrication. That lubrication of course, being the slippery unguent of advice.
Scatbex's first rule of Team Hardcore: Don't go there alone. "Definitely knowing who you are playing with helps. I never quite understood why some players just run into a game all by themselves not knowing anyone from the game. Taking in at least one friend will make a huge difference in how well you can perform."
Cheesebex is of course correct. The more complete and cohesive a team, the less chance there is of your new teammates quitting, and leaving you to fend for yourself.
But there's more to it than keeping a team of four in there with you.
"Let's ALL get rockets!"
"Teamwork is at a much higher importance with the settings on the Team Hardcore Playlist and you need to know how to interact with your team. So, before you jump into a game talk about what your strategy is going to be... what your role is. That way, even if it doesn't work you know that next time you need to take a different approach."
Dangleberrybex may be good, but he's got more in common with you or I than you might think.
"My role is usually "guarding the base." That translates into "Staying out of the way"
Unbelievably, a human female agreed to romantic congress with Bumeggbex, and yet he abuses fate's kindness by forcing her into Team Hardcore, and then mocking her skills in a public forum, as we see here.
"Just don't do what my wife does [editor's note: Bungbex's wife is actually called MamaBex, no kidding] which is run around aimlessly screaming about 'not knowing where the bad man is.' Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the fact that you don't have to look in the corner every other second. There are other HUGE indicators that can tell you where the other team is. A big thing we are starting to see at our events is teams showing up with headphones so they can hear footsteps. I know it sounds crazy, but there are a ton of sound effects you miss when blasting Rush [editor's note: Rush is a band that morbidly obese people used to listen to in 1843. They had long hair and tie-dyed T-Shirts, and they played electrical guitars known as "axes."] on your stereo while playing. Throw on some headphones and you will be amazed at how loud MC running down the hall behind you can be."
Not all of Teabagbex's tricks are so clean or noble.
"Remember that players will respawn near their team. So a huge move is to stay back and not rush in to where a team is spawning. A disgusting tactic (and part of the reason Anakin and Puckett removed it from the lineup) on Colossus Snipers is to have one of your team mates at red or blue flag, one around the side ramp area, and two up top. This forces the team to spawn at the opposite base. Knowing where the other team is on a Snipers match is huge, and a pin maneuver is what a lot of the pro teams are going for when they are playing."
Pin maneuvers work on many maps, and in many play styles. Naturally they work better with ranged weapons. But there are defensive strategies you need to employee too, especially if you are pinned.
"You're sure they're out of grenades, right?"
"Covering your team mates is a big part of it. Even if you are not able to kill someone before they kill your team mate, at least you are there to finish the kill while their shields are low and trade the kills. New players constantly struggle with not knowing where their team mates are. Shadow your team mates and always have a plan. You don't need radar if you have those things going for you," spouts Fruitbex ebulliently.
And speaking of, um, speaking, you need to get a mic. And verbal skills are essential.
"Essential indeedy," ejaculates Tardbex. "Speak up! No, not like that guy that screams nonsense over and over just to be a jerk, but if you are going to play, scream out some locations, tell your buddies what you think the other team is doing. So many times I'll hear the other team whine and complain about the 'n00b combo' or something like 'man, what the hell are you DOING BOBBY' while they could be sharing useful info. Don't yell at your team mate. Very calmly say "bobby, get your ass to Blue on sniper side and kill that guy while I work from the right ". Guaranteed 9 times out of 10 you will have better results and a better time. (Plus, you and Bobby will still be friends)."
Chocolatestarfishbex may be a Pro, but he's no freak-savant. He can identify with us, the hoi polloi.
"I am definitely no pro. I hang around the level 30-ish area so I know the maps and know general strategy, but when I am at a MLG event and have a chance to scrim with a team or two I generally lose. So, I am pretty familiar with the whole 'I lose a lot' concept. For me when I know that the impending doom of an Ogre rifle is just going to murder me over and over I try and sit back and figure out how I am getting beat."
All that philosophizing does not keep bullets out of skulls, but it does testify to the fact that planning, forethought and reflection can all pay dividends.
Shawshankfreshfishbex describes a possible benefit. "One on one an Ogre-level player is going to mop the floor with me most of the time, but what is so amazing about the really great teams is their ability to manipulate the situation so it's always two against one. Study where the other team is standing - what weapons are they holding? Is it really just them or do they have a team mate that is backing them up?"
What AshleeSimpsonBex is really saying is that if you can't win one-on-one battles, avoid them entirely. Do not run off on your own, flailing your arms wildly and bumping into walls. But he gets sneakier. If you can't beat them, copy them.
"Before you just "A, A, A, A" your party into another game, sit down with your team and discuss what the other team was doing, then try to duplicate it. Trust me, it works. Just discussing strategy with your team will make games a whole lot more fun and put you on the winning team more often."
Sick to my stomach of Colonbex's chicanery and Machiavellian cheatery, I asked him what he didn't like about Team Hardcore.
"Well, I can't really speak for the team," sprayed Colostomybex, "My opinion of a great game differs a pretty good bit from what John and Chris (the commissioner of MLG and Event Coordinator for MLG Halo matches, respectively) find as great games. Overall there aren't many games that I think "don't fit." If I had to pick a few that I personally can't stand, it would have to be Gemini – Crazy King, Beaver Creek - Neutral Bomb, and Lockout – Crazy King - which we actually support but the spawns on a close game drive me bonkers."
Note that Stinkbex hates our freedom, as well as our fun. So I asked him what the MLG generally thought of the new playlists and the weighting of objective versus Slayer games.
"In regards to weighting towards objective games I think it's really the right thing to do. The Team Slayer playlist is there for a reason. If you want to play 24/7 Team Slayer, head over there. John and Chris do a bang up job at our events of balancing out each step of the bracket so that you have to be good at both Team Slayer and objective game types. The right objective game type has so much teamwork behind it, it really takes the best team to win the game and not one All-Star carrying everyone. I was surprised that Bungie decided to go with so much objective goodness after the stats you released this week. Obviously a lot of the kids out there love the Slayer. Can't say I blame them, but it takes a well rounded team to win a great objective match."
If there's a lesson to be learned Buttbex's advice and opinion, it's that he's one of us. That he knows what he's talking about and that he can back it up online. And that Team Hardcore is not a nice place for kids. It is a bad, bad, dangerous, lead-filled death-hole. But for that, we thank him.
"Why are you crouching? Motion detector's off."