3DGN vs. Thresh’s FiringSquad in Quake 2: An Observer’s Perspective / Page 1
|by Joe Ewbank
Ahh, the joys of “working” for 3DGN. I log on the internet one day, check out the site, and see that our ever-intrepid editor, Rick, has finally posted a poll like he’s been threatening to do for weeks. There’s a catch with this poll though… he’s decided that 3DGN is going to put up or shut up (well, ok, so there’s not much likelihood of us shutting up… but hey, that’s how the clich� goes), and he let our readers (and the readers of Thresh’s FiringSquad apparently) choose who we were going to challenge to some games of Quake 2. While there were nearly 20 sites listed as options on the poll, including such popular sites as Blue’s News and Voodoo Extreme (note to Rick: make these links to those sites) Thresh’s FiringSquad won the poll by a landslide with over 950 votes. Whee, so Rick issues the challenge to Dennis (Dennis “Thresh” Fong, arguably one of the best Quake players in the world), and a date and time is set for the match, while the 3DGN staff started obsessing about practicing Quake 2 teamplay, downloading and checking out demos of Thresh’s gameplay, and so forth. I was busy driving hundreds of miles for job interviews and packing stuff to go into storage.
The game was set for Wednesday night, which distressed me a bit. I was going to be busy that day and a good portion of the night preparing for my move from modem-land hell (also known as Midland, Texas) to cable modem, live music-land (also known as Austin, Texas). Given all that, I was a few hours late. This didn’t matter, as I wasn’t the only one late. For whatever reason (maybe the time wasn’t clearly communicated or something, I don’t know) Thresh and crew still weren’t there when I showed up in 3DGN’s IRC channel. So, 45 minutes or so later, Homey (Thresh) shows up, and all is good – or so we thought. A server couldn’t be agreed on, and several different listen server hosts were tried (it seemed like everyone wanted to host), each one resulting in just horribly unbalanced pings for one team or another. Eventually, the GX team set up a dedicated server with reasonable pings for everyone except for Dakota Smith, who was supposed to be part of 3DGN’s team. Dakota decided his 500+ ping (over cable modem no less) was unplayable, so he left. Now, in my personal opinion, Dakota is one of 3DGN’s best Quake 2 players, so it sort of sucked for him not to be on the team. Had he been on our team I think 3DGN would have done a little better. Not enough to make a big difference, but I think the first match wouldn’t have been such a shutout.
That said, the two teams ended up being:
Dennis (GX-Homey) a.k.a. Thresh
McKenzie[3DGN] (Ilya, Writer)
Rob[3DGN] (Rob, Writer)
Totally[3DGN] (Dave, Artist)
Rick (stickyii) and I (MrStick) tagged along as observers. I recorded demos of both teamplay matches but will not release them by Thresh’s request.
Ever have one of those games where you feel like you’re playing golf with God, in that joke where all of nature conspires to give him a perfect score? Well, this was something like that, except in golf a low score is good.
The first match was played with “standard” deathmatch settings, which apparently are normal weapon spawns (where they don’t stick around after they’re picked up) and friendly fire enabled. The 3DGN staff had been practicing on and off for two weeks with friendly fire off, and weaponstay on. I’d made some mention of that probably being a bad idea sometime before but was basically ignored since I suck (in all fairness, it’s due to the horrid modem connection I had. I never bothered to try to develop skills in spite of it when I could play StarCraft just fine). In short, 3DGN’s team was totally blown away by the FiringSquad team. It was sad, really, how badly we got our asses beaten. The map was Q2DM1 – The Edge – and while everyone on the 3DGN team got a few kills in (Ilya scored the first kill for the 3DGN team, and I do believe that over the two matches, everyone killed Thresh at least once), teamkills and suicides managed to keep 3DGN’s frag total to nothing. The FiringSquad team, on the other hand, continually racked up the kills, and even though they made some mistakes too, they still ended up with a total of 160 kills in the 20-minute match.
The FiringSquad team played a very, very good game from what I saw. I was in chase-cam mode observing GX-Homey (Thresh) for about 95% of this game and saw the FS guys cover all the basics – control the weapons and armor, run circuits between common conflict points, work different sections of the map, and clear out common sniping/camping spots. At one point early in the game, Ilya types “remember, Thresh camps.” I had to resist the temptation to say something in response to that, but I did laugh out loud about it, as he made that comment right after I’d seen Thresh running about the map almost nonstop for two solid minutes.
Watching Thresh was just incredible. He seemed to favor the rocket launcher and the rail gun while using the chaingun and grenades now and then as well. He did probably the best job I’ve ever seen of switching weapons, almost always having an appropriate weapon for the situation and always doing his weapon switches on the move – often in mid-air. I also gained a very large measure of respect for Thresh when he saw one of the 3DGN guys respawn and just stand there, not moving. He switched DOWN from the rail gun to the blaster pistol, waited a moment, popped him one round with the blaster, and seeing him still not move, backed off and waited for the other player to start acting and moving before attacking him, when he could have easily taken the kill. This was fun, as he chased him into the water, still using the blaster to fire at the newly spawned player, when he had much powerful weapons at his disposal.
Kenn’s writeup about the match at Thresh’s FiringSquad was very charitable in his account.
Most of the 3DGN team was actually on cable modems or ADSL I believe despite the 150ish pings. The FS team did have an advantage of much lower pings, but the real fact of the matter is that their skill was vastly superior to the 3DGN team’s. Basically everyone on the 3DGN team griped about weaponstay not being on (none of them actually having played in tournament mode before) but overall were good sports about it. It was decided another game would be played, this time with the settings the 3DGN team was accustomed to: weaponstay on, and no friendly fire.