I was recently fortunate enough to gain access to the Back 4 Blood (B4B) closed-beta, and I’m going to share my thoughts on the game as it is and where I think it can go both before and after release. Bear in mind as this was the beta build of the game content and mechanics may – and probably will – still change.
Imagine my surprise when I logged into Steam, only to find that my brother had been playing Evolve. This surprise was further compounded when I saw it was in my library. The penny then dropped; I wasn’t special, or chosen….it was simply an open Alpha. Jump to the cut to find my thoughts on the game as it is. …
PAYDAY: The Heist and the Left 4 Dead series have a lot in common. Both are 4-player co-operative multiplayer games where players fight their way through endless hordes of enemies (police and security guards in the former, zombies in the latter) to complete objectives in linear scenarios. Both have a variety of ‘special’ enemies which require particular tactics to defeat. They have similar guns and tools and mechanics of all kinds. They were developed by companies which were each acquired by another, though that is hardly uncommon in today’s game industry. Now they are soon going to have even more in common, as PAYDAY’s new parents OVERKILL Software (what is it with all-capital names?) have announced an “in depth collaboration” with Valve Software, blending the two games in some inscrutable way. …
The developers at Adventurine have decided, five days before it was scheduled to be released in Europe, to hold Darkfall Online back another month and instead release it on the 25th of February. In an attempt not to utterly fail at release day as so many MMORPGs do, the 22nd of January will instead be the release date of a free trial/beta. Not everyone will be allowed access on the first day, but apparently they will gradually increase the allowed number of people. This should hopefully allow for a relatively painless launch when the time comes. Due to the game’s relatively hardcore nature, its community is already close-knit and eagerly waiting to maul each other, so this can’t come as very pleasant news so few days before the promised release date.
I do hope they know how to take advantage of this: even juggernauts like Valve can fail to properly release a multiplayer game (remember the first week of L4D?), and MMORPGs have always been notoriously hard to open to the public.
Left 4 Dead has recieved an epic update over night, featuring a whole host of updates, ranging from exploit fixes, to some much needed Versus balancing. Most noticable; and certainly most welcome, considering all the calls I’ve heard by irritated infected to have him removed; are the balancing modifications to the Smoker, who now looks ever bit as fun to play as his Bio would have us believe. He should be alot more scary throughout the whole game, besides that one little niggling rooftop headache in No Mercy – Sewers. The changes to the tank look set to make him not necessarily more powerful, but certainly a lot more accessible. There should be far less embarassing performances I think – though unfortunatly (and I suppose realistically) he can no longer knock alarm cars into players.
Other useful changes include not being able to change teams while a map is loading – I’m hoping this will solve the problem where it seems to mix up teams now and then – time will tell on that one. There’s some other minor additions to the Infected teams interface, that I suppose should greatly aid coordination. And best of all?
Better loading times.
– Fixed Survivors being able to climb surfaces marked for versus infected only.
– Fixed a class of SurvivorBot bugs dealing with rescuing downed players.
– Players can no longer grab ladders while flying through the air after a Tank punch.
– Shooting near a car with an alarm that has already fired the alarm will no longer make chirping noises.
– Improved loading time.
– Fixed mini-gun physics exploit.
– Fixed propane tanks (and other physics objects) causing players to fall through elevators.
– Fixed rare achievement bug issues.
– Fixed several map exploits.
– Fixed various match making issues.
– Fixed NAT traversal issues.
– Added HUD elements to show status of other infected players.
– Changed color of infected player name in chat to red.
– Fixed exploit where players could spawn infected bots
– Fixed instance where a Survivor changing to the infected team would be attacked by infected bots.
– Normalized special infected melee damage.
– Made the following client commands cheat protected: “Kill” and “explode”.
– Fixed exploit where infected players could run away and teleport back to gain health.
– Players can only change teams once per map.
– Players can’t change teams while other players are still loading.
– Tank spawns at the same % through the map for both teams in versus mode.
– Made the Tank and Witch spawn directly on the escape route.
– Increased chance of getting the Tank or Witch.
– Fixed team swap issue.
– Easier to pounce a Survivor who is meleeing.
– Increased Minimum damage a Hunter pounce does.
– Fixed Smoker tongue tolerance.
– Smoker now has to be killed or the tongue destroyed for the tongue to break.
– Survivor’s cannot bash someone off the tongue until the Survivor being pulled is paralyzed or hanging
– Tongue attacks that fail to paralyze or hang a Survivor will use the shorter ability delay timer.
– Fixed cases where the ability timer was not using the correct time.
– Fixed case where you could point at a Survivor but not register a tongue hit
– Fixed Smoker tongue not targeting and landing properly through PZ ghosts.
– Smoker tongue does damage every second while dragging paralyzed Survivors.
– Bashable objects now appear with a red glow.
– Tanks hitting a car with an alarm disables the alarm permanently.
– Tank frustration timer is only reset by hitting Survivors with rocks or fists.
– Reduced autoshotgun damage against Tanks.
– Witch spawns at the same % through the map for both teams.
– Avoids spawning within a certain % of the tank.
– Fixed an exploit where the Witch could be woken up and tricked into attacking Survivors.
We waited with bated breath. News was within our grasp, “just on the horizon”, they told us. Supposedly we’d hear, in the next week or so, that the first big update for L4D was going to be released, hopefully with versus maps for Dead Air and Death Toll, and maybe some extra nubbins. So when, today, I was greeted by news of a L4D update being released this week I made an audible squeee sound. This was it! I would finally be able to bound over the rooftops of Dead Air as my friend the Hunter. Or lurch through the drainage system of Death Toll as my volatile chum the Boomer. Alas, it isn’t that update. This is one that’s far more grease and wrenches than flashy versus maps and potential new campaigns (perhaps even the SDK!). No, this is one that shall fix the myriad exploits and bugs that have been plaguing the game for a while now, hopefully including such annoyances as the breakable door in No Mercy, or a few of the closet cases. First, there was the tentative releasing of this email, which was decried as fake, then another here, and finally Shacknews confirmed it here. Block quote below from Chet Faliszek.
As any good gamer PC Enthusiast should, I’ve been playing Left 4 Dead in every spare moment I’ve had since Tuesday morning. Of course much of this time has been entirely occupied with removing decaying limbs from decaying torsos, all the while giggling with glee when I catch a hospital gown wearing zombie mid-run and it goes flying through the air. However, it’d be a betrayal to the side of me that is pure fledgling journalist if I wasn’t, the whole time, playing while observing.
It seems the co-op mode of Left 4 Dead wasn’t initially planned as part of the game according to Chet Faliszek, interviewed on the Major Nelson podcast. When development started it seems all that was intended was the versus mode, but complications arose when the extensive playtesting began, mainly due to the pacing the director wanted.