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L4D League [PC/M$]
December 17th, 2008 by Dan

Today’s the first non-WMQ Wednesday, so I thought I’d ease us into it with a discussion about competitive gaming, since that’s closer to a sport than, say, a book review.

Online leagues are nothing new to the computer gaming space. For as long as we’ve been able to play over our 14.4 modems (or slower!) people have been fragging each other in Doom and Quake in leagues, continued doing so through the most popular competitive shooter, Counterstrike, and are even now forming clans and teams within Halo 3.

Why talk about a L4D league then if the topic is essentially not that new. The real question that people are asking and that no one’s sure about is whether or not the games played in versus are standard enough to be considered fair and viable in terms of ratings. The X-Factor comes in the form of the AI Director, whose evil knows no bounds. In all seriousness, if the AI Director gives the infected a Tank in just the right place, but doesn’t give it to the survivors on the next iteration in the same place, is the game considered broken from a competitive standpoint?

When my roommate and I were discussing this last night, I mentioned that sports, while supposedly fair were actually inherently unfair. Geographic advantages, weather advantages, home field advantages, they’re all intangibles that could favor one team or another. His counterpoint was that they were intangibles, but bad Tank spawning is a real, measurable thing that can be proved to favor one team over another.

In a sense, the debate is more or less rendered moot by the fact that leagues will spring up regardless. The true proof will be whether or not they exist years from now when the game is old news. I’ll keep you guys posted on any league progress if I happen to join one.

And now: PA comic about ZOMBIES! I’m just glad they’re of similar mind…


2 Responses  
  • Eric writes:
    December 17th, 200810:09at

    What am I missing about the way competitive competition works? Doesn’t matter how evil the AI Director is. If you’re playing against each other it’s how awesome you are against each other. In other games can’t respawn points and item locations be randomized?

  • Dan writes:
    December 17th, 200810:19at

    Random is one thing, but the AI Director is not random. It goes easier on poorer players and harder on better players, supposedly. I’m of a similar mind to you in that skill should trump this, but then again, I’ve been spawned at the wrong time as a tank and had the other team just hide in a glitchy part of the map where they were unreachable…


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