Home Editorial Balance This year’s TF2 Halloween event is fun… if you like terrible maps

Seriously, fuck this map.

I like candy, bubblegum, and taffy. I like costumes, especially disturbing ones. I’ve dabbled in the occult… but I’m not a witch. I’m you.

But regardless of my personal inclinations and/or my intent to steal your identity, I think every Team Fortress 2 player was looking forward to this year’s Halloween celebration. Paper bag masks, exploding pumpkins, and light-hearted scares all mesh so perfectly with random acts of violence, after all. And with a towering boss to battle, new hats, and exciting new crafting recipes, what’s not to love?

Oh, right: the actual maps.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

In case you haven’t noticed, two maps were released this update: CP Mann Manor and CP Mountain Lab. No, nobody’s playing the latter, since there’s no point in playing TF2 any more unless a 10-foot demonic spectre is roaming about, decapitating people at will.

“But still, that’s great news, Winpants!” you cry with glee, “That means there’s even more TF2 topography to enjoy!” But before you get your hopes up, madly searching for a 24/7 CP Mountain Lab server to join, may I interject and spoil your fun? These maps are almost completely identical.

Take a stroll around Mountain Lab. Its tiered, clustered entrances. Its insidious final capture point. Its terrible, terrible mixture of choke points that open up to wide swathes of Sniper Valleys. Look upon this map and despair, as it’s literally a copy/paste version of Mann Manor, except with the spooky filter turned off.

Having two identical maps wouldn’t be so bad if the maps were actually good. Sadly, this isn’t the case. Both maps force BLU into terrible paths that can easily be denied with 1-2 well-placed Sentries and a constant barrage of spam. Both maps feature a gate that connects A to B that closes for no discernable reason after A is captured, forcing BLU to squeeze through the worst clusterfuck corner since Dustbowl 3-2. And once BLU manages to capture A and B, the tides are turned incredibly dramatcically. C is essentially free, as the easy-access attic area means Demomen can spawn camp all of RED’s entrances with a Scottish Resistance or a little help from a single Sentry.

On Mann Manor, this problem is compounded by the spooky lighting, which makes it nearly impossible to see what exactly is raining death down on you. They might as well have named this map CP Dresden.*

Taking Candy from Strangers

Despite my complaints, I’ve still had a lot of fun. The thrill of madly dashing about for gifts and away from the spectral serial killer definitely adds excitement to my otherwise boring routine of scalping people for hats. And, of course, nothing says “Go die in a fire, WiNG” like chain-stabbing half the enemies on the field right when they finally begin uniting with my team to take down Silas Mann.** Just don’t be surprised when a few months have passed and you still haven’t seen CP Mountain Lab win a map vote.

*It’s not a perfect analogy.

**Unity is for hippies.

13 replies to this post
  1. Well of course they’re completely identical, since they’re both made by texturing the same untextured map Valve released in the Art Pass contest. o_O

  2. I don’t know, I kind of like the maps. :x I’ve never had that hard a time on CP B as you have, usually you just have to counter spam, or sticky the inevitable sentry around the corner before the point, and you can break any “defense” they might have had. Maybe you just had a bad few rounds.

  3. My experience so far has been that Mountain Lab is easier to play for some reason. I suspect it’s because the lack of Halloween distractions helps your team actually coordinate.

  4. Yes, this map is very chokepoint-y and spammy, just like many others (dustbowl, goldrush, etc), but it can be lots of fun imo. No worries, though, as you pointed out, we’ll soon play it to death and will not want to see it for a good long while… in either form.

  5. I’m not too excited about them. Heck, I didn’t even know there was such a map as “cp_mountainlab”.
    Good article as always.

    • Most likely cause when your team wins(either on offense or defense) there isn’t a chance some random guy can show up and be like “HEY! I’M A GHOST WITH 3000+HP AND A INSTAKILL AXE.” and completely screw up the flow of the game.

  6. I wish the map it self was a bit longer. Like the run from A to B to C is so short. If they had put another cap in so the gate wouldn’t have to close for no reason at A so Blu could go A to B through there it wouldn’t be so bad.

  7. I must disagree with the general dislike for the map, and give it a A+ rating on the Solly battlefields. This map will make a good Soldier feel like a boss as they use the height advantage to rain down rockets, and make better Soldiers feel like a demi-god whenever they intercept and steal health backs from those hippy Scouts.

  8. The map would be fine if pumpkinbloke wasn’t there and the candy containers didn’t drop. The closest I’ve found to a playable version was on a server that had its cvars altered to have greatly reduced health its speed brought to a crawl. It’s dead before it leaves the point leaving you to mostly play without distraction. Well, apart from the critical candy containers but they’ll be gone in a week.

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