Team Fortress 2 – Mann vs Machine

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Over the last week valve has released a new game mode to their successful free to play FPS Team Fortress 2. The new game mode is known as Mann vs Machine, this is a coop game mode where players vs waves of robots in an attempt to protect Mann Co from the robots.

The idea for MvM (Mann vs Machine) is that you are a group of workers from Mann Co that are the last line of defence against the automation that has been putting them out of a job. This leads to the idea of the coop group trying to protect Mann Co against the waves of robots. As you progress through the game the waves and robots increase in strength numbers and difficulty.

The Machines

The machines can be broken down into normal, advanced and giant robots. The normal robots are used in large waves in order to carry the bomb, these robots don’t have any specific advance traits. As the waves increase or the mission difficulty is increased the robots move through to advanced units. These have specific areas that they excel at and provide a more difficult encounter for the players. During the missions the robots send out “Giant” robots. These robots are the largest of the robots and as a result are the most difficult to take down. A breakdown of the robots follows:

Normal:
Scout
: Quick unit that tends to start with the bomb to push through with the bomb.
Rocket Soldier: Used to disrupt players and attack in force.
Heavy: Smaller group numbers but strong against units.
Pyro: Pushes in groups but can be picked off easily at range.
Sniper: Used as a support class to assist other units. These units aim to disrupt others.
Spy: Used as a support class to disrupt players when larger units are within the wave.
Advanced:

Steel Gauntlet: Boxing Heavies with damage resistance.
Bowman: Large group snipers armed with bows.
Demoknight: Quick sword and shield unit.
Minor League Scout: Stuns players.
Quick Fix Medic: Quick healing support unit.
Heavyweight Champ: Boxing heavy that attack in large groups.
Uber Medic: Medic that runs as a support that can uber units.
Sydney Sniper: Uses dart gun with Jarate-coated darts.
Giants:
Rapid Fire Soldier: Fires rockets in quick succession.
Deflector Heavy: Shoots down rockets and grenades.
Super Scout: Quickest unit in game with a high damage resistant.
Sentry Busters: Unit comes out when sentries are dealing a lot of damage.
Tank: The strongest unit in the game. Takes many players to destroy. Cant fire back.
There is a full breakdown on steams page: http://www.teamfortress.com/mvm/machines/

The Mann Co Employees

For those that have played TF2 (who hasn’t) players get to choose between a number of classes which each have their own strengths and weaknesses. In MvM (Mann vs Machine) this is no different with picking individual classes, the difference is that during the waves of robots you are able to upgrade your players weapons and skills. These areas are needed as the robots become more difficult as the waves progress. The Mann Co Employees specialist areas can be broken down as follows.

Soldier: Rocket and Buff Banner
Medic: Used to add crits or healing for other units
Scout: Large cash collection radius, instant respawns
Heavy: Tanking unit easy to upgrade firepower
Demoman: Good for setting traps with sticky bombs
Engineer: Multiple sentry styles and two way transporters
Sniper: Good to slow and poison robots.
Pyro: Used to push robots back. Good for resetting the bomb
Spy: A good unit to mingle with the robots to collect cash and to backstab support medics.
There is a full breakdown on steams page: http://www.teamfortress.com/mvm/mercs/

Maps

Currently there are 3 maps available for MvM. These maps are different in style but have a strong layout and replay ability with the changing routes that the robots are able to take. The maps are as follows:

Coal Town
Decoy
Mannworks

Gameplay

The gameplay of MvM is similar to other horde style games. The game is broken down into the 3 maps with each having missions starting from normal up to Ironman difficulty. As the missions and difficulty increase the number of robots and their levels increase. This increases the difficult for the players and require them to change their strategy and what they purchase as upgrades. There are a number of ways to play the game as well. Valve has a set number of servers available that they have hooked up to their item servers to drop rare items for the game. In order to play on this server you have to buy a Mann Up ticket from the store for $1 USD. You are also able to purchase a loot ticket that allows for better drops during playing on the servers. By playing on these servers the wait time to connect is low compared to the unpaid for experience trying to connect to free to play servers. The easiest way to play is to setup your own server and get a group of friends to join.

The Good

Fun
Free to Play
Well thought out and planned.

The Bad

Server wait times for F2P servers.

Final Word

MvM is a great game to play with friends and provides a great challenge to work through in the higher levels. Even for a group that have not played TF2 before this game is easy and quick to pick up.